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Cloonen wants better tools for prosecutors

Wants increased reporting time for sex crimes on kids

Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 9:59 a.m. CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — To protect residents and crack down on dangerous criminals, state Representative Kate Cloonen (D-Kankakee) is calling on the Illinois Senate to quickly pass a measure to better provide law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to prosecute individuals who commit sex crimes against children.

“Too often child victims are hesitant to come forward and speak out against their abusers, either because they are scared, confused, or worse, the perpetrator is someone they know,” said Cloonen. “It is our duty to ensure that those who prey on the innocence and vulnerability of our children are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“This measure allows victims to seek justice and keeps dangerous child sex offenders from getting away with these heinous crimes.” 

Under current law, the ability to prosecute criminal sexual abuse of a minor may expire after one year of the victim turning 18 years old. 

Cloonen’s measure, House Bill 1063, will remove the statute of limitations for aggravated or predatory sexual offenses or criminal sexual abuse in cases where the victim was under 18 at the time of the offense. Additionally, the bill extends the time period an individual may report a sexual assault by 20 years.

“We are committed to ending the suffering of sexual assault victims and holding sex offenders accountable for their crimes,” said Lyn Schollett, general counsel for the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

“Children who have been victimized by sexual violence experience unimaginable trauma. Sex offenders often prevent child victims from reporting the crime by blaming or threatening the child. This bill will ensure that when a survivor of childhood sexual abuse is safe enough to report the crime, prosecutors can stand ready to charge the offender.”

The 79th District includes all or portions of Aroma Park, Beecher, Bonfield, Bourbonnais, Braceville, Bradley, Buckingham, Cabery, Chebanse, Coal City, Diamond, East Brooklyn, Essex, Gardner, Herscher, Hopkins Park, Irwin, Kankakee, Limestone, Momence, Peotone, Reddick, South Wilmington, St. Anne, Sun River Terrace and Union Hill.

For more information, please contact Cloonen’s constituent service office at (815) 939-1983 or by email at staterepcloonen79@att.net.

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