Lake Villa, IL asked in Criminal Law, Juvenile Law and Sexual Harassment for Illinois

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?

1 Lawyer Answer
Charles Candiano
Charles Candiano
  • Chicago, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

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.

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