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Illinois Governor signs legislation removing statutes of limitations on sexual abuse crimes

[JURIST] Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner [official website] signed SB 189 [text, PDF] on Friday removing the statutes of limitations on certain sexual abuse crimes. The legislation amends chapter 38, sections 3-6, of the Illinois Criminal Code to eliminate a time guard for reporting [AP report] felony sex crimes and sex crimes against children. Under the previous code a victim of these sex crimes had to report the crime within 20 years of reaching age 18. The statute now reads:

When the victim is under 18 years of age at the time of the offense, a prosecution for criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, or felony criminal sexual abuse may be commenced at any time when corroborating physical evidence is available or an individual who is required to report an alleged or suspected commission of any of these offenses under the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act fails to do so.

The stricken language above expands the time period and circumstances under which a prosecution for sex crimes can commence. Some of the crimes covered by the bill include child pornography, solicitation for a juvenile prostitute, promoting juvenile prostitution, criminal sexual assault, and sexual conduct toward minors. The legislation takes immediate effect.

Rape and other sex crimes are frequent issues in the international legal community and have made headlines in the past several months. In June, Japan's lower legislative house approved changes [JURIST report] to Japan's century-old rape laws that would expand the definition of rape, lengthen prison sentences to five years and allow prosecutions to occur in instances where a victim did not press charges. In May Australia announced [JURIST report] plans to decrease child sex trafficking by prohibiting registered sex offenders from traveling overseas. The same day, the US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [JURIST report] that the federal age of consent was 16. Earlier the same month, the India Supreme Court [official website] upheld [JURIST report] the death penalty in the case of a gang rape which led to the victim's death. In July 2016, the German parliament unanimously passed a law expanding the definition of sex crimes [JURIST report], making any form of "nonsensical sexual contact" a crime.

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