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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

Sexual Abuse in the Schoolhouse

Posted on in Criminal Defense

sexual abuseThe crime of child sexual abuse carries an enormous stigma. This is particularly true where the allegations arise between a child and a person of influence in the child’s life, such as a parent, coach, counselor, or teacher. In criminal prosecutions, the child’s word is often taken over the educator’s. Regardless of the circumstances behind the situation, even being accused of child sexual abuse can severely negatively affect one’s life. Convictions could lead to sex offender registries, restrictions on living arrangements, and loss of employment. In other cases, convictions will lead to hefty prison sentences.

Criminal Sexual Abuse Versus Criminal Sexual Assault

In Illinois, there are two primary crimes often associated with child-educator sexual abuse allegations: sexual abuse and sexual assault. In short, sexual abuse involves touching, but not penetration. The more serious offense of criminal sexual assault must involve penetration to be convicted. Sexual assault may include touching through clothing or fondling the victim’s sexual organs. If the victim was someone subject to the accused’s authority (i.e. a teacher), the penalties can be more severe than other types of sexual abuse.

Since sexual assault involves penetration, it is considered a more serious offense under Illinois law. According to the Illinois Criminal Code, “sexual penetration” is considered any contact between or intrusion of sexual organs or the anus of one person and another sexual organ, anus, or mouth of another person. The law includes oral sex in the definition and does not require the presence of semen to prove the penetration occurred.

This definition can have various implications in a court of law. While its terms can be interpreted broadly or narrowly, allegations are serious and often will favor the word of the abused child. When the allegations are true, it can prompt other abused children to come out of the woodwork, previously too afraid to tell someone they were victimized. This was the case in a recent case involving a teacher and a child with learning disabilities; someone else later came forward and said they, too, were abused, though charges pertaining to that allegation have not yet been filed. This case also involved a woman sexually assaulting children, which highlights that this is a crime committed by both men and women alike.

Charged With a Sexual Crime?

Sexual abuse or assault allegations can have a lasting impact on one’s life. A conviction could ultimately destroy your relationships, freedom, and employment. Our experienced DuPage County sexual abuse attorneys at Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. have the knowledge and negotiation skills necessary to navigate these complicated cases. We also value your side of the story, in addition to protecting your confidentiality and privacy during this sensitive time. Regardless of the truth or falsity of the allegations, we will fight to protect your legal rights throughout the entire process. We will work with prosecutors to negotiate less severe charges, limit terms of probation, or sometimes dismiss cases entirely. Seeking legal counsel is the best way to ensure you have a chance at resuming to as much normalcy as is possible after pending sexual abuse charges, and the sooner you take action, the better the possible outcome. Our attorneys represent clients in DuPage, Cook, Will, and Kane County, and will provide you with a consultation at 630-472-9700.

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