Senator Tracy yearns to make sexual crime prosecuting easier

Illinois capitol in Springfield

A bill to reform reporting of sexual offenses for victims unaware of a sexual crime due to unconscious encounters is now headed to the Illinois House.

Senate Bill 2271 passed unanimously in Illinois last Thursday.

Senator Jil Tracy sponsors the bill, which she says stems from a sex crime case that happened last year in Adams County.

Legislators are trying to extend the law to allow for the prosecution of a sexual offense committed against an adult within one year after the victim’s discovery.

Assistant Adams county states Attorney Anita Rodriguez says a case was dismissed last year following this loophole in the law.

"Because the victim was an adult at the time of the sexual assault there was no extended statue of limitations for later discovery as there are for children later to report," said Rodriguez.

"The statute of limitations is one year from when the incident happened and to bring criminal action has to be within one year of that date,” said Tracy.

Last fall in Adams County, A search warrant was executed on a perpetrator for an unrelated crime.

That’s when law enforcement discovered something else on the perpetrator's computer.

"A recording was found of this defendant who was sexually assaulting a woman who was unconscious. When that recording was discovered, law enforcement, the Adams County Sheriffs Department was able to identify the victim in the recording,” said Rodriguez.

The case was dismissed in an Adams County Courtroom on a motion from the defense that the prosecution couldn't prove they were within the statute of limitations.

"The problem was a year had elapsed between the time that the incident happened and when it was discovered,” said Tracy. "It won't apply to many cases but in that one instance it does, justice will be served because of the bill."

The bill will now head to the house where it has until May 31, 2018 to approve it.

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