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Archive for the ‘child abuse’ tag

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

Domestic Battery: When Does Disciplining a Child Become Abuse?

August 17th, 2017 at 4:52 pm

child abuse, domestic battery, Rolling Meadows domestic battery defense attorney, corporal punishment, physical disciplineThere is great debate these days among parenting “experts” about whether or not children should be physically disciplined when they misbehave. Some think that children should never be physically reprimanded, others believe in spanking, and some feel that more violent forms of punishment (such as hitting a child with a stick or whipping them with a belt) is permissible.

Regardless of how you feel about corporal punishment as a parenting technique, it is critical that every parent in Illinois understands the legal line that our state has drawn between physical discipline and child abuse. It should be noted that this line is not as clear-cut as you might expect; however, this article explores the legal distinction between physical discipline and abuse according to Illinois law.

The Legal Line Between Physical Discipline and Abuse

The Appellate Court of Illinois held in In re F.W. that parents in our state have the right to physically discipline their children. However, a parent’s right to physically discipline his or her child is not unlimited.

Under code section 705 ILCS 405/2-3(2)(v) physical punishment of a child becomes abuse if the corporal punishment inflicted is “excessive.” But how are we to know when physical punishment becomes excessive? Unfortunately, the statute does not explain what constitutes excessive corporal punishment. However the Illinois State Bar Association notes that based on the applicable case law Illinois courts consider the following factors when determining whether or not a particular instance of physical discipline was excessive:

  • Injuries sustained by the child;
  • Any psychological issues exhibited by the child that can be attributed to the incident;
  • What part of the child’s body was affected;
  • The likelihood that excessive corporal punishment will be administered in the future;
  • The danger of further mental trauma or bodily harm;
  • How old the child is;
  • The purpose of the punishment;
  • The general reasonableness of the act; and
  • Any other information relevant to the case.

Child Abuse Penalties

If an Illinois court finds that a parent did in fact inflict excessive corporal punishment on his or her child that parent may face the penalties associated with a Class 1, Class 2, or Class 3 felony offense.

Have You Been Accused of Committing Child Abuse in Illinois?

As you can see, the line between permissible corporal punishment and child abuse in Illinois is not crystal clear. Therefore, if you have been accused of committing child abuse in Illinois, it is critical that you retain an experienced Rolling Meadows domestic battery defense attorney without delay. Having an excellent defense attorney fighting for you can make all the difference in cases like these where both sides of the aisle will be presenting evidence arguing whether or not the corporal punishment inflicted was “excessive.” To schedule an initial consultation with one of the exceptional criminal defense lawyers of The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, contact our Rolling Meadows office today.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1863&ChapterID=50&SeqStart=2300000&SeqEnd=6700000

https://www.isba.org/sites/default/files/sections/childlaw/newsletter/Child%20Law%20April%202015.pdf

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.

U.S. Supreme Court Review of Case Regarding Hearsay and Sixth Amendment

November 12th, 2014 at 11:27 am

Constitutional rights, appellate court, Illinois criminal defense attorney, The United States Supreme Court has decided to review a criminal case that contains issues of hearsay and related Sixth Amendment considerations. In the case, the defendant was charged and convicted of physically abusing two minor children. The trial court allowed testimony from one of the child’s teachers who repeated the victim’s out of court statement to them, even though the older child was deemed incompetent to testify. The statements related to the identification of the defendant. The case was appealed to the appropriate state appellate court, which reversed the conviction, and then to the State Supreme Court, which affirmed the appellate court’s decision.

Defendant’s Argument

Defendant’s argument on appeal was that the introduction of the above mentioned witness’s testimony violated his Sixth Amendment right to confront his accuser. At trial, the jury was exposed to testimony and the defendant was not given the chance to properly cross examine the individual who actually made the statements. Now that the case has reached the Supreme Court, they are expected to address issues about the statements that include whether the teachers were effectively acting as law enforcement officers conducting an interrogation since they are mandatory reporters of child abuse, and whether the child’s statements to the teachers can be considered testimonial.

Considerations

The issues of hearsay and Sixth Amendment concerns have been addressed by the Court in the past. This case provides an opportunity for the Court to apply previously decided legal standards to a new set of facts. Much of the Court’s decision seems to rest on whether the child’s original statements to the teachers can be considered testimonial. If so, they likely should have been excluded from the trial as the defendant did not have the opportunity to cross-examine the declarant, the child. The Supreme Court will likely use legal precedent to decide whether the statements were testimonial in nature or not.

The mandatory reporting law presents another interesting issue to be decided in this case. If it were not for this law, teachers would likely have a valid reason for inquiring about injuries observed on a student. However, since teachers are required to report suspected child abuse to appropriate authorities, the teacher questioning the student was legally considered to be an interrogation for the purpose of gathering evidence of a crime, as was found by the State Supreme Court on appeal. The reason the interaction is considered to be such is that in this role, the teacher is acting as an agent of law enforcement and gathering information for them.

On the other hand, the argument can be furthered that despite the mandatory reporting requirement, her primary purpose in asking about a student’s injuries could be unrelated to aiding law enforcement. The reporting requirement simply affirms the teacher’s ordinary obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of students. It will be interesting to see which line of reasoning the Supreme Court identifies with.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, do not hesitate to seek the representation of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney who can advise you on the facts of your case and protect your rights. Contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today to schedule a consultation. We have successful experience serving clients in Cook County as well as the surrounding area.

Students Charged With Hazing

January 12th, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Students Charged With HazingYoung athletes at Maine West High School are facing misdemeanor charges for allegations of hazing that some are calling child abuse, according to the Chicago Tribune. Tony Romanucci told NBC Chicago, as reported in the Huffington Post, that allegations of sexual abuse go as far back as 2006, and “that coaches at the school knew about what was happening.” The complaint alleges that older players on the soccer teams shoved younger boys down to the ground, beat them, and then sodomized them with their fingers and other objects.

The two soccer coaches, Michael Divincenzo and Emilio Rodriguez, have been put on paid leave from the school until the dust settles surrounding the incident. Six players have been charged with misdemeanor battery and hazing, but as of mid-December there was no evidence to support felony charges for any student involved in the charges. The Huffington Post reports that an additional four students are facing disciplinary actions. There have been other allegations of hazing abuse among the swimming and baseball teams as well, and the mother of one boy—a baseball player—told NBC that when she reported the incident to the principal it was “swept under the rug.”

Lawsuits over hazing gone wrong are nothing new. According to StopHazing.org, hazing in Illinois is a Class A misdemeanor, unless it results in death or great bodily harm. If it does, hazing in Illinois is a Class 4 felony. Hazing is defined in Illinois law as: “the performance of any act by a student or other person in a school, college, university, or other educational institution of this State for the purpose of induction or admission into any group, organization, or society.”

If you or someone you know is facing hazing charges, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Illinois criminal defense attorney today.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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