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Archive for the ‘Sex Crimes’ Category

Illinois’ Strict Revenge Porn Law

July 13th, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorney,, Google made big news recently when it announced its decision to remove nude or sexually explicit images posted on the internet without consent from its search results. The practice of posting private sexual images without the consent of the person in the pictures is commonly referred to as “revenge porn.” This name comes from the practice of jilted lovers posting intimate pictures of an ex once a romantic relationship has ended. Historically there were few laws governing this practice. However, Illinois recently passed a strict criminal law that deals with this issue.

Illinois Passed a Strict Law against Revenge Porn

In December of last year, former Governor Quinn signed a strict anti-revenge porn law into effect before leaving office. This law goes so far as to make it a felony to post sexually explicit photos or videos of another person online without his or her consent. This new law just went into effect on June 1. The crime is a Class 4 felony, which can be punished by one to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. Additionally, if a person who posts these images makes money off of them or receives any goods in exchange for posting them, the law requires that the money or goods be forfeited. The law does not just cover pornographic websites. It also prohibits the posting of these images without consent on other types of websites, including social media websites.

Many states still have no laws making revenge porn a crime. What makes Illinois somewhat unique is that not only does state law make this practice criminal, it actually makes it a felony. This means that people convicted under the law may face long-term consequences in addition to any imprisonment or fine. Convicted felons lose rights to gun ownership, for example. They can also lose the right to sit on a jury or vote in certain parts of the country. Sometimes felons are not eligible for government assistance, and a felony conviction can seriously impact a person’s ability to get and keep a job despite “ban the box” laws.

What about the First Amendment?

Some critics of this type of law argue that they violate our right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment. Obviously the Illinois law has not been litigated yet, being that it is brand new. However, laws in other states have been challenged by organizations like the ACLU on these very grounds. Only time will tell how First Amendment arguments play out regarding these laws and Illinois’ law specifically.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

When you have been charged with a crime, you have many important decisions to make. The first decision you should make is to obtain the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. We will fight for you. Call us today at (847)394-3200.

New Program Treats Prostitutes as Victims Instead of Criminals

June 17th, 2015 at 7:41 am

Illinois sex crimes lawyer, Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer,Prostitution is a crime that has been handled and mishandled many ways by society over the years. During some eras it has been ignored, in other eras it has been harshly prosecuted, and in some parts of the country it has even been legalized. It is still against the law in Illinois and the people engaging in prostitution often find themselves in need of the assistance of a criminal defense attorney. Now, however, Cook County has created a new program that will treat the people engaged in prostitution, who are all too often not prostitutes of their own volition, as the victims they are, rather than treating them as criminals.

A New Cook County Program

The Chicago Tribune reports that a new court will change the way prostitution charges are handled in Cook County. This program was in part made possible by a 2013 change in the state prostitution law that required that all prostitution cases be charged as misdemeanors rather than felonies. The court will be called the “Chicago Prostitution and Trafficking Intervention Court.” Its goals are to give people working in prostitution the tools they need to leave that life while at the same time reducing the overcrowding of local jails.

Program Acknowledges Realities of Prostitution

While some people, both men and women, consciously choose to work in prostitution despite having other readily accessible options in their lives, that is simply not the case for many sex workers. Some are the victims of human traffickers, while others are trapped by issues involving substance abuse, homelessness, and/or mental health problems. These women and men often find themselves forced into sex work just to survive. This new program is designed to help solve these underlying problems rather than just punishing people for doing what they have to do in order to get by. One of the key elements of the program is that the defendants who are a part of it will actually be able to get their charges dismissed if they successfully complete the program. It remains to be seen, however, how realistic completion of the program will be. Drug courts have shown that when they are properly implemented they can be an excellent tool for rehabilitation, but when they are not run properly they can just be a way of setting defendants up to fail. Hopefully this court will be more like the former than the latter.

What Will the Program Include?

The men and women who engage in this program will have individual case managers. They will have access to HIV testing, and, if necessary, treatment. They will receive counseling. Depending on the participant’s individual needs they may also work with organizations that fight homelessness, that deal with human trafficking issues, and that provide mental health services.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you are charged with prostitution, or any other crime, you will need the help of an experienced and passionate criminal defense lawyer. For help from a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, you should call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. When you call us at (847)394-3200 we will schedule an appointment at your convenience.

Criminal Sexual Assault and Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault

May 6th, 2015 at 7:01 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, rape,Sex offenses are some of the most difficult types of crimes to defend. While juries and the public are willing to consider most criminal defendants to be innocent until proven guilty, and while they are supposed to do this in sex cases, often they are unable to do so. This is particularly true when the alleged victim of the offense is a child, as most people do not understand the reality that children can be easily led to make false or inaccurate allegations. That is why it is so important that when you are facing charges for a sex offense that you obtain the help of a criminal defense attorney who is experienced with defending this type of offense. There are many different types of sex offenses one can be charged with in Illinois, so it is important for you to understand exactly what it is you are being accused of having done.

Criminal Sexual Assault

Criminal sexual assault is a felony sex offense in Illinois. A person commits this offense if he or she commits an act of sexual penetration and one of the following four statements is true:

  • He or she used force or the threat of force;
  • He or she knew that the alleged victim was unable to understand the nature of the sexual act or was unable to give knowing consent;
  • He or she is a family member of the alleged victim and the alleged victim is under the age of 18; or
  • He or she is 17 years old or older, the alleged victim is between the ages of 13 and 18, and the accused holds some sort of position of power or authority over the alleged victim.

 Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault

Aggravated criminal sexual assault is another more serious felony sex offense in Illinois. This crime requires that the accused commit criminal sexual assault and that one of a list of aggravating factors is present. This aggravating factors include:

  1. That the accused displayed, used, or threatened to use a dangerous weapon other than a firearm, or that the accused displayed, used, or threatened to use some other object that would lead the alleged victim to reasonably believe that it was a dangerous weapon;
  2. That the accused caused great bodily harm to the alleged victim.
  3. That the accused acted in some way that threatened or endangered either the life of the alleged victim or the life of some other person;
  4. That the accused committed the assault while committing or trying to commit some other felony;
  5. That the alleged victim of the sexual assault is age 60 or older;
  6. That the alleged victim of the sexual assault is a physically disabled person;
  7. That the accused drugged the alleged victim without the alleged victim’s consent or by threat or deception;
  8. That the accused was armed with a firearm;
  9. That the accused personally fired a firearm during the commission of the assault; or
  10. That the accused personally fired a firearm during the assault and that the firing of the firearm caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or death.

There are two other ways to commit aggravated sexual assault. The first happens where the accused is under 17 years old and he or she commits an act of sexual penetration with a person under nine years old or uses force or the threat of force to engage in an act of sexual penetration with a child between the ages of nine and 13. The other type of aggravated sexual assault happens where a person commits an act of sexual penetration with an alleged victim who is severely or profoundly intellectually disabled.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you or someone you love has been charged with a sex offense, you need the assistance of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at (847)394-3200 for a consultation on your case.

Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child and Criminal Sexual Abuse

April 28th, 2015 at 5:21 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, crimes against children,When you are charged with a sex offense you need the help of a criminal defense attorney who is experienced with defending this type of offense. Because of the unique types of evidence that are often used in cases involving allegations of sex crimes, these cases often require specialized knowledge. Additionally, these cases often hinge on the testimony of the victim more than any other type of case, meaning you need an attorney who knows how to handle victims in court. There are a whole host of different sex crimes charges in Illinois, and each of them has slightly different requirements in order for one to be found guilty. One such charge is predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, a serious allegation that carries significant penalties upon conviction.

Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child

A person can be found guilty of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child if he or she is age 17 or older and has does one of the following with a person who is less than 13 years old:

  • Commits an act of contact between the sex organ or anus of one person and a body part of another person for sexual purposes; or
  • Commits an act of sexual penetration.

The punishment for this offense is more severe if the accused was armed with a firearm, personally discharged a firearm during the offense, caused great bodily harm to the victim resulting in permanent disability or a threat to his or her life, or drugged the victim.

Criminal Sex Abuse

There are three main ways a person can commit the crime of criminal sex abuse.The first involves the accused either committing an act of sexual conduct by the use of force or threat of force, or committing an act of sexual conduct when he or she knows that the alleged victim is unable to understand the nature of the act or give knowing consent. So what is “sexual conduct?” It is any knowing touching or fondling, either directly or through clothes, of the sex organs, anus or breast. It can also involve the fondling of any part of the body of a child under 13 years old, or the transfer of semen onto any part of the alleged victim’s body. In order to be “sexual conduct” the purpose of the conduct must be sexual gratification or arousal.

The second kind of criminal sexual abuse involves a person under the age of 17 years old committing an act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct with a person who is between the ages of nine and 17. The third type of criminal sexual abuse involves a person committing an act of ssexual penetration or sexual conduct with a victim who is at least 13 years of age but under 17 years of age, where the accused is less than five years older than the alleged victim.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

When you are charged with a sex offense you need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at (847)394-3200. When you call we can schedule a time to visit with you and determine how we can be of help.

Solicitation and a Sting in the Suburbs

January 14th, 2015 at 5:21 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, prostitution, When we think of undercover police work we often think of narcotics cases. Police go undercover to buy or sell drugs and catch people who do the same. But this is certainly not the only area where police work under cover. Sex crimes like prostitution and solicitation also provide undercover work for police and lead to arrests in the suburban area. If you have been arrested for a sex crime in the Rolling Meadows area, it is in your best interests to contact an attorney immediately.

A Sting in the Suburbs

The Chicago Sun Times reports that 14 men were recently arrested after meeting police officers in an undercover solicitation sting in the west suburbs. Undercover police officers placed ads for prostitution services on an adult classifieds website called Backpage.com. The men then allegedly went to a hotel to meet with the advertised prostitutes only to instead find undercover cops. In 2014, more than 130 men were arrested by Cook County Sheriff’s officers using this Backpage sting method. The unit has arrested around 700 people using this method since 2009. The men caught in this sting were charged with a violating a local Cook County public morals nuisance ordinance.

Solicitation Laws in Illinois

The public morals ordinance applied to these men has been around for a few years. It decriminalized being a john in a sense, in that it removed jail time from the picture. However, being punished under this ordinance can result in substantial fines, community service, and even the impounding of vehicles. These fines may be substantially greater than the punishments that were actually doled out back when these cases were prosecuted in criminal court. The upside, though, aside from no risk of jail time, is that prosecution under this ordinance does not result in an actual criminal conviction. This ordinance only applies in certain parts of Cook County.

State criminal law also addresses solicitation of a prostitute. The crime is called “solicitation of a sexual act.” Under the law, any person who offers someone money or anything of value to perform any act of sexual penetration or touching or fondling of the sex organs commits solicitation of a sexual act. This is a Class A misdemeanor normally, but if the prostitute is a minor or is severely or profoundly intellectually disabled it becomes a felony. Class A misdemeanors can be punished by up to a year in jail. The fine can be anything up to $2,500 per count.

Criminal Defense Attorney

When you or someone you love is charged with a crime, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact the dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley and we will schedule a free consultation.

Addressing Sexting among Juveniles

November 25th, 2014 at 9:44 pm

juvenile sex crimes, Illinois juvenile attorney, Illinois criminal defense lawyerJuvenile crimes generally get special and specific considerations when they are prosecuted in the court system. Many times, juvenile offenders participate in criminal activity merely as a result of immaturity or inexperience. One bad judgment call can have significant effects if the action results in an illegal act. Of course, there are certainly other juvenile cases that are much more serious and involve significant crimes and associated penalties depending on the facts of the case. Determining how to address issues and handle juvenile offenders in light of their crime and personal history is a main challenge of the juvenile justice system.

The Crime of Sexting

Sexting is an offense that has made headlines in Chicago several times in 2014. It is one such juvenile offense that may be handled differently according to the facts and circumstances of a case and the particular offender or offenders involved. There are likely cases in which the offense was the result of poor judgment, and other cases may have more intentional actions, leading to more serious consequences. According to a recently published report, law enforcement in Chicago are currently dealing with a high-profile sexting case, allegedly involving at least three juveniles. It is the sixth such juvenile case that officials have had to address this year alone.

Law enforcement officials are saying that the issue of sexting extends far beyond Chicago and Illinois, and that it is a national epidemic. Some police departments deal with a new sexting case every week. With the crime being so prevalent, many are asking why teens and others continue to engage in such behavior. Law enforcement officials with experience dealing with such cases seem to think that juveniles who engage in such behavior often lack the capacity to think about the consequences of their actions when it comes to sexting. When choosing to engage in such behavior, they are often driven by hormones and emotions and fail to realize the effect that sexting can have on them down the road.

In light of this, the relevant sexting laws were specifically written in order to account for such situations in which minors simply exhibited poor judgment and deserve a second chance. The law allows law enforcement officials to consider alternatives to filing criminal charges against juveniles who participate in sexting, when doing so is appropriate in light of the circumstances. This gives deserving juveniles the opportunity to move on from an incident with little effect on their lives in the long term. Law enforcement stresses the importance of parent’s as well as school official’s involvement in such cases in order to be successful in combating such behavior.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a crime as a juvenile, speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney is imperative. The experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have represented juvenile clients in a variety of matters. Contact us today to discuss your case.

Sex Abuse Charges and Elderly Defendants

November 18th, 2014 at 10:00 am

senior prisoners, Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyerIt should go without saying that sex crimes are serious offenses that have severe consequences associated with them. These cases present many issues that need to be addressed, but some cases involve special circumstances that deserve extra consideration. As one report points out, one type of sex offense case that involves additional issues are those in which an elderly defendant is charged with a crime stemming from facts that allegedly occurred decades ago.

Health Concerns

In addition to the myriad of other issues inherently involved in sex crime cases, those in which an elderly defendant is charged usually have an additional set of unique factors to consider. Not only can these cases involve displacing a criminal defendant from his or her place of residence, but can also involve extradition issues, which may be more common the further back in time the facts supporting the charges supposedly occurred. All of this is compounded by any health concerns elderly defendants have, which can also vary in severity. In some cases, an elderly defendant’s life could be placed at serious risk before they are even tried for their crime.

Not Only Sex Cases

Of course, these same concerns may be present in any criminal case involving an elderly defendant and may be particularly apparent in cases that involve the potential for extradition, the transportation of the defendant from one jurisdiction to another to face charges where the crime allegedly occurred. According to some experts, the cost of transporting and housing criminal defendants in this scenario can not only be dangerous, but is likely to also be expensive. These defendants would need to be treated and cared for while in custody, something many prisons are not equipped to do. Even if the defendant is treated at an outpatient hospital, it takes additional prison staff to accompany him or her. Another argument experts raise involves the acknowledgment that the purpose of incarceration in many criminal cases is to protect the public and ensure the defendant will not re-offend, something that may be less of a concern when dealing with an elderly defendant.

More Appropriate Sentences

The high cost of imprisoning elderly defendants coupled with the fact that most of them no longer pose a threat is leading many to argue that other methods of punishment may be more suitable for this population. One such alternative form of punishment is home confinement, which may be able to fulfill many of the goals of incarceration without the need for a prison sentence.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the Chicago area, do not hesitate to discuss the facts of your case with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney who can advise you of your rights. The experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley are prepared to listen to the facts of your case and defend your rights. Contact us today for a consultation.

Age of Consent: Does it Need an Increase?

May 27th, 2014 at 7:06 am

age of consent, Chicago juvenile crime lawyer, Cook County criminal defense lawyer, statutory rapeLegal Inconsistencies

There is not a universal approach to the legal age of consent across the country. Rather, states take different approaches to declaring what the age of consent is within their borders and the enforcement of such according to law. Some suggest a national age of consent of 18 to clear up these inconsistencies. In general, the ages of consent range from 16 to 18 years of age. In Illinois, the age of consent is 17 years old.

Arguments against Young Age of Consent Laws

One of the main arguments against a younger age of consent is the disparity between a state saying a 16 or 17 year old can legally have sex with an adult, but are not considered adults in the eyes of the law in any other situation. Opponents of such young ages of consent say the states that have such laws place too much responsibility on young people and put them at a higher risk for negative consequences of being sexually active with adults.

Further, a considerable age difference between sexual partners can be emotionally damaging, especially when one of them is still a teenager. If a teen has a negative sexual experience with an adult, they may be more likely to have negative sexual experiences as adults and suffer from anxiety, depression, and contract STDs and STIs.

Statutory Rape

The crime of statutory rape occurs when an adult has sex with minor who is under the age of consent. While this crime is important to protect young people from predators and sexual abuse, it may also come into play in a less threatening situation. Consider a scenario where an 18-year-old high school student has sex with a 16-year-old high school student. Such activity is against the law, but it seems unjust to punish someone on the other side of the age of consent who is so close in age to the other as severely as an older offender. In cases such as these, some laws may reduce the punishment for violations of statutory rape, as the purpose behind the laws regarding age of consent and statutory rape are less relevant when applied to couples so close in age.

Criminal Defense Attorney

The crime of statutory rape is a serious one that deserves attention. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the Chicago area, the criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can advise you of your rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation in our Rolling Meadows office.

Illinois Senate Reforms Rape Law

May 5th, 2014 at 7:00 am

Illinois Senate Reforms Rape Law | Cook County Criminal Defense LawyerA crippling backlog of rape kit testing is a problem in different counties and states across the country. Unsurprisingly, the state of Illinois is no exception. Backlogs in rape kit testing – due to numerous factors, ranging from the mishandling of kits to understaffing of testing labs – often caused rape cases to go without being prosecuted, essentially victimizing the one assaulted for the second time. Now, an important change in the law seeks to prevent situations like that from occurring.

Cases Influencing Change

In one case, a woman was beaten and raped in a south suburb of Chicago in 1977. After the incident, the local police department failed to follow through on her case, losing evidence crucial to apprehending a suspect. As a result of their failure to follow through, enough time passed for the statute of limitations to run out on the case, which prevented charges from ever being filed. Despite the failure and the victim’s loss of confidence in the justice system, she continued to fight for change in the law.

Senate Action

This case, in addition to countless others, made the argument to win Senate approval for a law that would allow more than 10 years, the previous applicable statute of limitations that began running the day the crime was committed, to bring charges for rape. The Senate unanimously passed the measure, which now makes the clock begin on the statute of limitations the day a rape kit is examined, and no longer on the day of the crime.

This is an important and significant change, especially in light of the known problems with the backlog of rape kit testing. Prior to 2013, more than 4,000 rape kits from agencies across the state were forwarded to Illinois State Police due to a law passed in 2010, which required all old evidence in sexual assault cases to be sent to state police. The legislation extending the applicable period of the statute of limitations is now set to go to the House.

The Failure to Investigate

Despite officers’ assurance to the victim of the 1977 case that the incident would be investigated, it likely never was. The officers who took the victim’s statements were, in fact, part-time employees. Moreover, there is a strong indication that rape crimes simply were not being investigated by law enforcement at the time this victim was raped. Still, the victim was able to obtain her attacker’s name three years after the crime and presented it to police; her rape kit had been misplaced by that time though.

At that point, the decision not to prosecute such cases was a conscious one. Later, staffing issues and a lack of capacity may have prevented such cases from being investigated. Today, the situation seems to be improving. Officers are being trained in the context of investigating and prosecuting sexual assaults and rape cases.

Criminal Law Attorney

This change represents an important shift in the law that can affect the rights of both victims and defendants. Sexual assault crimes are serious charges, and it is imperative to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you or someone you know is charged with such a crime. Contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today and schedule a consultation. We serve clients in Chicago and the surrounding area.

Cracking Down on Sex Trafficking in Chicago

March 24th, 2014 at 12:49 pm

sex trafficking, sex crimes, lawyer, attorney, Chicago criminal law, Illinois criminal law

It goes without saying that sex crimes of any nature are very serious cases that should be handled with special care and attention. Sex crimes can involve a variety of incidents leading to criminal charges, but the government and law enforcement in the Chicago area are focusing their efforts on human trafficking, and the organizations involved in promoting it. A recent article explained the city’s actions in relation to targeting those culpable of such crimes.

Government Action

United States Senator Mark Kirk and Anita Alvarez, a Cook County State’s Attorney, called for the partnering of local and federal officials to put an end to sex trafficking across the country. One of their efforts includes preventing websites from contributing to the trafficking. They even went so far as to say human trafficking was really just modern day slavery. The Senator said that just as Illinois was the first state to ratify the 13th amendment, which put an end to slavery, the state was in a unique position to put a similar end to human trafficking. He said a good place to start would be to stop the publication of sex ads on websites, many of which are also responsible for prostitution advertising.

The Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation (SAVE) and Safe Children’s Acts

In keeping with his call to action, Senator Kirk plans on introducing the SAVE Act in the Senate this week. The legislation will allow the federal government to prosecute websites, like backpage.com, that contribute to children being victimized via commercial advertising. On the state level, the state’s attorney said her office passed the Illinois Safe Children’s Act, which was drafted to protect child victims of sex trafficking. Since the law was passed, 93 defendants have been charged with crimes related to trafficking in state court.

The Internet’s Role

According to the article, the internet has played a huge role in promoting human trafficking and sex crimes. It makes such offenses easier, and often facilitates the commission of the crimes for pedophiles and sex traffickers, who have access to advertising for such acts at any time. Proponents of the legislation described above say it is necessary to stop websites from profiting from criminal activity that victimizes children. They also claim that current law operates to protect sex trafficking websites and their owners from prosecution because they only exist on the internet.

Not all sex crimes involve human trafficking. Sexual assault, prostitution, indecent exposure and possession of child pornography are also sex crimes that can bring with them serious consequences. As such, it is critical that those charged with crimes such as these consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you or someone you know has been charged with a sex crime in Chicago or a surrounding area in the state of Illinois, the attorneys at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley are prepared to assist in your defense. Contact us today to discuss the facts of your particular case.

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