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Archive for the ‘Child Abuse’ Category

The Wrongs to Children Act

October 31st, 2018 at 10:10 am

abuseChild labor laws have come a long way since the beginning of the 20th century, when millions of children throughout the U.S. worked in factories, in plants, and on the street. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one out of eight children was employed in 1870. By 1900, one out of five children was employed. Nowadays, it is rare that a child under 15 years of age is employed, aside from farm work or normal chores.

Why Do We Need Child Labor Laws?

In the past, U.S. children were taken advantage of as “employees.” They were abused physically and emotionally, they were not given fair wages, their working conditions were atrocious, and most importantly of all, they were not allowed to be children. A child with a 10 or 12 hour work day, which was not uncommon in the early 1900s, would, of course, have no time or energy to devote to education, play, rest, or happiness. Child labor is still a large problem in third world countries, with one in four children between the ages of five and 17 working in sub-Saharan Africa, according to UNICEF.

Child Labor Laws in Illinois

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 was the first groundbreaking piece of legislation that took aim at child labor. In the years since, other federal and state laws have been enacted. The Illinois Wrongs to Children Act, statute 720 ILCS 150, was created in 1961 to continue strengthening child labor laws. The Act makes it illegal to take, receive, hire, employ, use, exhibit, or have in custody any child under 14 years old for the purpose of:

  • Begging;
  • Dancing;
  • Peddling;
  • Doing acrobatics, gymnastics; or contortionism;
  • Walking on a rope or wire;
  • Performing an obscene, immoral, or indecent act;
  • Playing on a musical instrument;
  • Singing; or
  • Tightrope walking.

A violation of the Act is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $2,500. A second or subsequent violation is a Class 4 felony, punishable by one to three years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000.

What Is Allowed Under the Act

The purpose of the Wrongs to Children Act was to get children off the street as street performers and to stop people from employing or using them in unsanctioned, unlicensed events where children are more likely to be injured, harmed, abused, or taken advantage of. As such, it is perfectly legal for a child to sing or play an instrument in their school’s band or for a paying orchestra. Performing acrobatics as a gymnast in competition is, likewise, legal. Singing and dancing are allowed for TV, plays, movies, commercials, and other events as well. If you have questions about the legality of an act, you should contact an attorney.

A Rolling Meadows Child Crimes Attorney Can Help

Whether you have been charged with assault or battery of a child, child abuse or child neglect, or charged under the Wrongs to Children Act, you need to call a criminal defense lawyer today. Contact skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200.

 

Sources:

https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2017/article/history-of-child-labor-in-the-united-states-part-1.htm

https://data.unicef.org/topic/child-protection/child-labour/

Child Abandonment

October 8th, 2018 at 6:48 pm

abandonmentOver 25 years ago, a St. Charles couple decided to go on vacation to Mexico for nine days. They decided not to bring their children along, and while Home Alone II was playing in theaters, these two real-life parents left their nine- and four-year-old daughters home alone intentionally. They were arrested and their story gained national media attention, eventually leading to the creation of Illinois’ child abandonment law. Today, child abandonment is a serious criminal offense that can be penalized as a Class 4 felony, which carries a prison sentence of one to three years and a maximum fine of $25,000.

Characteristics Defining Child Abandonment

Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/12-21.5 defines child abandonment as the following:

A parent, caregiver, or other guardian who currently has physical custody or control of a child under 13 years of age leaves that child without “supervision by a responsible person over the age of 14” for 24 hours or longer. This statute does not include those who legally relinquish a child in accordance with the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act. In order to determine whether or not the child’s mental or physical health or safety or welfare was disregarded, the following will be taken into consideration;

  • Child’s age;
  • Number of children left alone in the location;
  • Potential special needs of the child;
  • Length of time the child was left alone;
  • Condition and location of the place the child was left;
  • Time of day or night the child was left alone;
  • Weather conditions when the child was left alone, and whether the child had proper protection from natural elements;
  • The location of the parent or guardian when they left the child and the physical distance between the child and parent during the time they were left alone;
  • Was the child’s movement restricted, such as being locked in a room?
  • Was the child provided with a phone number of a responsible person to call in the event of an emergency? Was the child able to make such a call if need be?
  • Were food and other provisions made accessible to the child?
  • Was leaving the child caused by illness or economic hardship of the parent, and did they make a good faith effort to provide safety and health for the child?
  • Age and mental and physical capabilities of the person left to look after the under-13-year-old child;
  • Whether or not another person was left to supervise the child; and
  • Other factors that could cause danger to the child.

Call an Attorney at Once

Leaving a 12-year-old child alone for a day because you had to attend to your dying mother’s needs at a nearby hospital will be looked at much differently than if you left your five-year-old alone for a week to go gambling in Las Vegas. Every case is different, and you need an experienced attorney to help prove your qualities as a parent. If you are facing child abandonment charges, you may also be charged with child neglect and potentially child abuse. Combined or alone, any of these offenses can cause you to lose custody of your child, place you behind bars for months or years at a time, and essentially ruin your entire life. We urge you to contact the skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the office of Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200.

 

Sources:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/news/ct-abn-home-alone-schoo-impact-st-1215-20171221-story.html

http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/methnet/laws_legislation/bodharm_09.html

Endangerment and Abandonment of Children

July 20th, 2015 at 7:49 pm

Illinois defense lawyer, crimes against children, Illinois criminal attorney,Parenting a child is hard. It is one of the hardest things there is to do, and while there are plenty of books on it there is no one agreed upon instruction manual that works for parenting every single child. Because of this the government has traditionally given parents significant leeway when it comes to making parenting choices. However, particularly in modern times, there are some sorts of parenting issues in which the government does involve itself. While the physical or sexual abuse of a child are some of the most drastic cases, issues like child endangerment and abandonment can also result in criminal charges.

What Is the Crime of Child Endangerment?

While the crime of child endangerment seems like it could include almost anything, it has a narrow definition defined by Illinois law. In order to be guilty of this crime a person must either (1) cause or allow the life or health of a child under the age of 18 to be endangered, or (2) cause or allow a child to be put in circumstances that endanger his or her life or health. A common cause of this sort of charge is leaving a child unattended in hot car. As a general rule a child under age six is considered “unattended” if he or she is left in the car for more than 10 minutes, although the jury can consider other issues. Depending on whether the offense is a first offense and whether the child dies as a result of the endangerment, this crime can be a felony or a misdemeanor. If the person who endangers the child is the child’s parent there is a special program under which the parent can be placed on probation and, if the parent cooperates and works with the Department of Family and Children’s Services, the charges may be dismissed.

What Is the Crime of Child Abandonment?

Abandonment is another crime related to the care of children. This crime happens where a parent, guardian, or other person who has physical custody of a child knowingly leaves a child under age 13 without supervision by a person over the age of 14 for a period of 24 hours or more. This must be done without regard for the health, safety, or welfare of the child. There are multiple factors that are considered in these cases including:

  • The child’s age;
  • The number of children left unattended;
  • Any special needs of the child;
  • How long the child is left;
  • The condition and location of the place the child is left;
  • What time of day the child is left;
  • The weather conditions;
  • Where the allegedly abandoning adult went when he or she left the child;
  • Whether the child’s movement was restricted;
  • Whether the child was given a number to call if there were an emergency;
  • Whether the child was left with food;
  • Whether the conduct was because of an economic hardship or illness;
  • The age and capabilities of the person providing supervision for the child;
  • Any other factor that could endanger the health or safety of the child; and
  • Whether the child was left under the supervision of another person.

If the defendant in these cases is the child’s parent, then the defendant may be eligible for the same sort of probation leading to dismissal that is allowed in some child endangerment cases.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

When you are charged with a crime, there are many decisions you have to make. Will you post bail? Will you have a trial or seek out a plea agreement? If you are having a trial, what sort of defense will you use and what witnesses will you call? One of the most important decisions you make, however, will be who you select as your attorney. You will need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at (847)394-3200.

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.

Mandatory Reporting in Child Abuse Cases

December 2nd, 2014 at 10:37 am

spanking, Illinois child abuse laws, Illinois criminal defense attorney,In areas of criminal law dealing with children, some punishments are particularly harsh when the law is violated. Such is the case with matters involving child abuse allegations. Not only does the perpetrator face potentially serious criminal charges, but additional laws also act to place responsibility on other adults in the child’s life who may have had a reason to believe the abuse was happening. In light of some recent event happening in a local county, a recent news article was published by the Chicago Tribune to help explain the Illinois law regarding mandated reporting.

Reporting Child Abuse

There is a criminal case pending in a local Chicago-area county involving allegations against teachers who reportedly failed to report suspected child abuse. The criminal case is ongoing. The relevant law in the case is the Illinois Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act, which is rarely used in the state but has been active for almost 40 years. The Act includes a section defining those who are considered mandated reporters, and teachers are included in the law’s definition. According to its terms, mandated reporters have an obligation to contact law enforcement officials if they have reasonable cause to believe a child is the victim of abuse.

Consequences of Violation

Violation of this law can result in either criminal charges or civil suits being filed against an individual who fails to report suspected abuse. Those who have experience with the law say that criminal charges are much less likely to result from such failure to report than a civil lawsuit is to be filed in court. The most serious criminal charges that can be filed as a result of a mandated reporter failing to contact police would generally involve an allegation that the defendant knowingly and willfully failed to report suspected abuse. Such a charge is graded as a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum one-year jail term, plus possible probation and fines.

Law Specifics

Although the law has been in effect in Illinois for almost 40 years, it has been changed in the more recent past. For example, in 2002, the law was amended so that clergy members were included within the definition of mandated reporters. In all, seven job categories are included in the definition of mandated reporters, including medical, educational, social service and mental health, law enforcement, coroner and medical examiner, child care workers, and clergy. Employment in these areas usually involves signing a statement of acknowledgement of the mandated reporting status. Teachers are now even required to complete mandated reporting training.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, contact the experienced Rolling Meadows defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today to schedule a consultation.

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