Q: Can the parents of a "victim" of statutory rape press charges against the "offender" after the "victim" turns eighteen?
Suppose that two teenagers in Illinois (one fifteen and one seventeen) are caught being intimate by the police. The fifteen-year-old, though not yet the age of consent, was not threatened, pressured, or forced into this act by her seventeen-year-old boyfriend; they both went willingly out of mutual love, trust, and respect. However, because of the difference in age between the two, their teenage mistake is classified as statutory rape. The parents of the fifteen-year-old (the "victim") decide not to press charges against the seventeen-year-old (the "offender") for the time being, but still have the option to despite their daughter not wanting her boyfriend to face these charges. My question is: can the girl's parents still press charges against her boyfriend against her will after she turns eighteen, or will it be up to her after that? Going off of that, is there a statute of limitations?
A: On your facts, the only criminal offense with which the boy could be charged is "sexual abuse" which is a class A Misdemeanor. The boy can only be charged by the State's Attorney. The girl's parents may make a request that charges be filed but whether to charge someone with any crime and what crime to charge them with is within the exclusive discretion of the Illinois State's Attorney. The girl's parents have nothing to do with it. There is no such thing as "pressing charges" beyond the pragmatism that it may be difficult or impossible to convict someone of a crime where the "victim" is going to testify for the defense. No one can be charged with a Misdemeanor more than two years after the date of the offense. On your facts, the girl was 15 years old at the time of the incident. It necessarily follows that more than two years must have passed by the time of her 18th birthday. Accordingly, the statute of limitations would have run on the incident of sexual abuse that you describe before the girl's 18th birthday.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.