In order to protect the safety and welfare of children, the State of Illinois has strict laws in place against child sex crimes. These legal protections extend past physical contact and sexual acts, safeguarding children from the threat of potential predators. In the age of the Internet and digital communications, however, it is often difficult to keep sexual predators away from possible child victims.
That is why Illinois prohibits the use of electronic communication devices to seduce or otherwise lure children into unlawful sexual acts. That is referred to as grooming. It is also illegal to travel to meet a child after grooming that child.
What is the Definition of and Penalty for Grooming?
As outlined in 720 ILCS 5/11-25, grooming is a sexual offense that involves the use of electronic communications. A person commits this offense if he or she uses an electronic device in an attempt to commit unlawful sexual acts with a child. Specifically, 720 ILCS 5/11-25 mentions the following types of electronic communications:
- On-line computers;
- Internet pages and forums;
- Local bulletin boards; or
- Other devices capable of electronic transmissions.
A person commits grooming in Illinois if he or she uses any of the electronic communications devices above to:
- Entice, lure, seduce, or solicit a child to commit an unlawful sexual act;
- Attempt to entice, lure, seduce, or solicit a child to commit an unlawful sexual act;
- Transmit photos of the child’s sexual organs; or
- Engage in any other unlawful sexual conduct with a child.
Under 720 ILCS 5/11-25, grooming is a Class 4 felony in Illinois. This offense is usually punishable by 12 to 36 months in jail, 30 months of probation and up to $25,000 in criminal fines.
What is the Definition of and Penalty for Traveling to Meet a Child?
As detailed in 720 ILCS 5/11-26, traveling to meet a child is a sexual offense that is related to grooming. This offense applies whenever a person commits grooming and then travels to meet the child — or attempts to meet the child. If the offender’s reason for traveling was to engage in unlawful sexual conduct with a child, then he or she is guilty of a crime under Illinois law.
Under 720 ILCS 5/11-26, traveling to meet a child is a Class 3 felony in Illinois. This offense is usually punishable by 24 to 60 months in jail, 30 months of probation, and up to $25,000 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing an online form.
(image courtesy of Glenn Carstens Peters)