Mar 26

In the State of Illinois, there are laws against and penalties for various sex crimes, including criminal sexual abuse. Although this category of offenses bears a certain similarities to sexual assault crimes, criminal sexual abuse has a specific statutory definition and punishment, as the following sections will explain in more detail. 

What are the Illinois Laws Against Criminal Sexual Abuse?

The Illinois laws against criminal sexual abuse appear at 720 ILCS 5/11-1.50. Under this section, criminal sexual abuse occurs when a person:

  • Commits an act of sexual conduct through force or violence;
  • Commits an act of sexual conduct through the threat of force or violence;
  • Commits an act of sexual conduct, knowing that the victim is unable to provide consent or understand the nature of the act;
  • Commits an act of sexual conduct or sexual penetration, and the victim is under the age of 17 years old. 

In this discussion, Illinois law at 720 ILCS 5/11-0.1 provides precise definitions for the terms “sexual conduct” and “sexual penetration,” as explained below.

  • Sexual Conduct — This term refers to the touching or fondling of sexual organs for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal, whether directly or indirectly. 
  • Sexual Penetration — This term refers to any contact or intrusion, whether significant or slight, between the sex organs or anus of one person and the sexual organs, mouth, or anus or another person. Examples of sexual penetration include vaginal and anal penetration as well as cunnilingus and fellatio. 

How Does Illinois Punish Criminal Sexual Abuse?

Section 11-1.50 also explains the punishment for criminal sexual abuse. Under this section, criminal sexual abuse is typically punishable as follows:

  • First Offense — Class A misdemeanor with the possibility of 364 days in jail and up to $2,500 in criminal fines; or
  • Second or Subsequent Offense — Class 2 felony with the possibility of three to seven years in prison and up to $25,000 in criminal fines.

That being said, criminal sexual abuse can be charged as a Class 4 felony on the first offense. The elevated charge for the first offense applies when the offense involves force or a victim unable to understand or provide consent. 

In these cases, a first-offense charge of criminal sexual abuse carries the possibility of one to three years in prison and up to $2,500 in criminal fines. 

Do You Need Legal Help?

No matter what the criminal offense, all charges are serious. A sound strategy and an aggressive defense are essential for a positive outcome. To protect your rights in such situations, it is highly advisable to retain legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The Prior Law Firm in Bloomington, Illinois, has proven experience in matters of criminal defense. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at or by completing an online form.