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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
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May 17, 2017


Attorney General Calls for Elimination of Criminal Statutes of Limitations for Felony Child Sexual Abuse and Assault Crimes

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today applauded members of an Illinois House committee for passing legislation to eliminate the statutes of limitations for felony criminal sexual assault and sexual abuse crimes against children.

Senate Bill 189, sponsored by Rep. Michelle Mussman, passed unanimously out of the Illinois House Judiciary – Criminal Committee Tuesday and will now be considered by the full House. The bill will eliminate Illinois’ statutes of limitations on child sex crimes that can allow child predators to go unpunished.

“The trauma experienced by child survivors of sexual assault is unimaginable, and it can take them a lifetime to come forward and report their crimes,” Madigan said. “Our laws must ensure that survivors can seek justice in their own time.”

“Too many of these horrendous crimes against children are perpetrated by someone the child knows and trusts, which is why reporting the abuse can sometimes take years,” Mussman said. “I appreciate the Attorney General’s push to allow survivors – not an arbitrary deadline – to determine when to come forward and report their crimes.”

As more child survivors of abuse and sexual assault have come forward to describe the difficult process that they have endured in reporting, states across the country have eliminated statutes of limitations for these crimes. Nationwide, 36 other states and the federal government have removed criminal statutes of limitations for some or all sexual offenses against children.

Currently no statutes of limitations exist in Illinois for murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, arson, treason, forgery or the production of child pornography. Under current state law, the most egregious sexual offenses against children must be reported and prosecuted within 20 years of the survivor turning 18 years old. Two exceptions include cases in which the crimes were committed on or after Jan. 1, 2014 and either corroborating physical evidence exists or a mandated reporter failed to report the abuse. SB 189 would eliminate statues of limitations for all felony child sexual abuse and sexual assault crimes.


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