ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – State Rep. John Connor, D-Lockport, a former Will County prosecutor who led the county’s high tech crimes against children unit, is urging Governor Rauner to sign legislation that would give prosecutors more time to prosecute child sex offenses.
“As a former prosecutor, I led Will County’s efforts to find and prosecute nearly 150 cases against criminals who downloaded child pornography,” Connor said. “I know how difficult these cases involving children are not only because of the sensitive nature of any crime against a child, but because child victims of sexual crimes often take many years, if not decades, to process their trauma and get to a place mentally and emotionally where they are able to come forward and pursue charges against their abuser.”
Senate Bill 189 removes the statute of limitations on various sex crimes against children including sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault and predatory criminal sexual assault. The measure would allow law enforcement to bring charges at any time when survivors come forward or evidence is discovered.
Survivors of rape and sexual abuse are often reluctant or unable to report the crime. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, nine out of 10 child sexual abuse victims are abused by someone close to them, and may be hesitant to report them. Disclosure of sexual abuse is often delayed; children often avoid telling because they are either afraid of a negative reaction from their parents or of being harmed by the abuser. This causes them to often delay disclosure until adulthood.
“Sexual crimes are already difficult to prosecute, and law enforcement and prosecutors need the tools in Senate Bill 189 to better keep communities safe and bring long overdue justice to child victims,” Connor added. “I urge the governor to recognize the urgency of signing this bill into law and beginning the healing process for many victims of heinous sexual crimes.”