CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today reminded Illinoisans of four new laws that will take effect January 1, 2009 that protect children and sex abuse victims from sex offenders in Illinois. These pieces of legislation will increase safety measures by: prohibiting sex offenders from serving as election judges; redefining the 500 foot boundary that offenders must adhere to; increasing penalties for possessing child pornography; and allowing prosecution of a sex crime at any time within 10 years after the crime, when the DNA profile of the sex offender is obtained.
“We must do everything we can to keep our children and our communities safe. That’s why we must continue to do everything in our power to prevent sex offenders from being in situations where they could pose a danger to our children or the community at large,” said Governor Blagojevich. “These laws will keep children and sexual abuse victims safer by implementing common sense restrictions on sex offenders and assisting law enforcement authorities in their duties.”
House Bill 3399, sponsored by State Representative Michael K. Smith and State Senator Antonio Munoz, redefines the parameters of the 500 foot boundary to which sex offenders must adhere and makes it more easier to prosecute violators. The 500 foot boundary currently applies to schools, parks, daycare centers, public parks, playgrounds, child care institutions, day care centers, per day child care facilities, facilities for children under age 18, and victims of a sexual offense under 21 years of age. Under the amended law, the measurement for the 500 foot boundary will be taken from the edge of the protected property or the location of the sex offense victim (if they are still under the age of 21 years) to the edge of the child sex offender’s residence or where the offender is loitering.
Recently, authorities in Illinois had discovered that several sex offenders had been serving as election judges in Cook County schools. State Representative Fred Crespo and State Senator Michael Noland sponsored House Bill 2671, which will prohibit sex offenders from serving as election judges and ensures that election authorities check the names of their election judges against Illinois’ sex offender registry.
Senate Bill 1887, sponsored by State Senator William Haine and State Representative Careen Gordon, allows authorities to begin a prosecution of a sex crime at any time when the DNA profile of the sex offender is obtained and entered into a DNA database within 10 years after the crime. With the improvements to DNA technology and data population of the nationwide Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), this new law will provide the potential for law enforcement officials to solve sex crimes and prosecute offenders who have escaped prosecution. It also lengthens the statute of limitation within which a victim of a sexual crime must report the offense. Victims now have 3 years from the date the crime was committed to report it to the police.
House Bill 3477 creates tougher penalties and sentencing for a person convicted of child pornography who possessed 100 or more images. Sponsored by State Representative Fred Crespo and State Senator John J. Milner, this will also extend the prohibition of posting identifying information on an adult obscenity or child pornography web site without the consent of the person and prohibits the use of encryption to commit or assist in committing a criminal Internet offense.