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Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois General Assembly, Illinois Politics, Illinois Sex Offenders

Illinois Legislature: New Day, New Sex Offender Bill Approved

State Rep. Carol Sente

(Springfield, IL) — March 17, 2010. If Governor Pat Quinn were to propose an income tax surcharge on sex offenders, he would likely score an easy victory.

The Illinois General Assembly may be unable to solve the state’s $13 billion budget deficit, but they got sex offenders on the run from multiple directions.

In the latest of sex offender legislative actions, the Illinois House yesterday approved, 115-1, House Bill 5043, a measure that would classify sex offenders convicted of certain sex offenses against victims under 18 as a “sexual predator”.

The legislation, sponsored by State Reps. Keith Farnham (D-Elgin) and Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills), drew its single “no” vote from State Rep. Careen Gordon (D-Morris), a former, tough-as-nails, prosecutor.

Both Farnham and Sente are in swing legislative districts and will face stiff GOP challenges to retain their seats in November. The “tough on crime” votes will appeal to their suburban voters.

In addition to the Farnham-Sente bill, the State Senate on Tuesday voted unanimously for legislation to ban sex offenders from Illinois public parks and from loitering on side walks near parks.

The Senate’s 54-0 vote on the plan, Senate Bill 2824, sponsored by State Senate Pam Althoff (R-Crystal Lake), comes on the heels of Illinois House approval, 90-16, last month of legislation, House Bill 4675, also sponsored by Sente, to ban sex offenders from employment at municipal fairs.

Sente’s fair-ban bill is being sponsored by State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills), but the legislation, which arrived in the Senate on February 17, has yet to be assigned to a committee for a hearing.

The bill encountered both liberal and conservative opposition among the 16 House “no” votes.

Additionally, State Senator Iris Martinez (D-Chicago) is pushing a plan, Senate Bill 3084, to require retroactive sex offender registration. Martinez’s bill was approved on Tuesday, 8-0, by the Senate Criminal Law Committee.

Althoff’s legislation imposes a Class A misdemeanor penalty for a first offense, but a Class 4 felony for second and third offenses. Other Senate sponsors include Martinez, Emil Jones III (D), Toi Hutchinson (D), Tony Muñoz (D), and Kirk Dillard (R).

State Rep. Jack Franks (D-McHenry) is the House sponsor of Althoff’s bill.

A regular commenter on this blog, Jim Sather, made an astute observation yesterday on the rash of sex offenders bills: “Not that I am for sex offenders, but thank god for sex offenders, at least the legislators can pass something.”

Quinn should ponder that sex offender tax.

About David Ormsby

David, a public relations consultant and blogger at The Huffington Post, is an ex-Press Secretary of the Illinois Democratic Party.


11 Responses to “Illinois Legislature: New Day, New Sex Offender Bill Approved”

  1. When is this sex offender hysteria going to end? None of these laws are being passed are based on current research and reality. Even these people are entitled to their constitutional rights. Ex post facto laws are illegal. Retroactive registration is an expost facto law. What in the hell is going on? You people are misleading the people you represent. None of these laws protect anyone. In fact the sex offenders are harmed. Give me a break. Do your research. Quit being stupid and ignorant.

    Posted by Amy Gibbons | March 18, 2010, 12:42 PM
  2. Politicians have such a poor reputation for actually doing anything that accomplishes anything they have to resort to bills that do not accomplish anything to get publicity. Politicians, especially Lisa Madigan and others like her use sex offender bills/laws as an easy way to get their name in the public eye.

    1)Did you know that treatment while incarcerated is not mandatory. IDOC sex offender treatment programs are ALL voluntary.

    2) Treatment is only mandatory as a condition of parole while on parole.

    3) A large number of sex offenders never serve any parole time since they have no place to live. Their parole time is served out in prison and then released with no parole. Therefore no treatment while on parole.

    Posted by R. Terry | April 8, 2010, 5:17 PM
  3. With residency restrictions of sex offenders, I’m surprised no ones tested their constitutionality in the courts under the idea that by forcing sex offenders to live in a more constrained geographical area, the law is putting a larger and undue burden of risk on the children that live in the same geographical area.

    Meaning, that by passing laws to protect children in one neighborhood or town, they are increasing the per capita of sex offender to child in another, and subsequently putting those children at an increased risk.

    I would expect that poorer cities, or neighborhoods would have less infrastructure (parks, schools, day care, etc) and would make sex offender residency attractive to those who the laws apply. The ultimate affect being, that the poor, or disadvantaged are being put in an increasing level of risk by proxy of the fact they are disadvantaged. While children, and citizens of more influential cities, or neighborhoods that have extensive infrastructure would be given a buffer simply because they are wealthier.

    I know residency restrictions in some states have been challenged on of property rights and ownership, but I don’t know if anything like this has ever been tested.

    Posted by dan | April 11, 2010, 3:51 AM
  4. When are politicians going to look at the reality of lives being destroyed by so called “Romeo & Juliet” crimes? Young adults are having the rest of their lives ruined by the label put on them, with no where to live, no place that will hire them, told repeatedly by society that they are “bad people” for having consensual sex with their girlfriends? What financial burden is this putting on government to keep them in jail and to add to homelessness? The psychological damage done to the girlfriend is incomprehensible. How does this help society??If the statistics are any picture of the reality that teens DO have sex and all that admitted it were charged with a crime, how many jails would have to be built to house them all? Only the honest ones, or ones that get caught are labeled and their lives ruined. This insanity HAS to be stopped! I think the general public isn’t aware of the damage the law is doing to youth, and many registered sex offenders are boyfriends of girls that consented to having sex.

    Posted by P.Hays | April 24, 2010, 9:49 AM
  5. Convicted of a misdemeanor in Lee County June 30,2000, at a bench trial. NEVER REQUIRED TO obtain sex offender counseling. The only court order was alcohol abuse treatment. I am registered until June 30,2010. My Kiwanis Club awarded me Kiwanian of the Year award in 2001 to show their support for me . I was the founding president and a Kiwanian at that time for 23 years. SENATE BILL 2824 will prohibit sexual predators and child sex offenders from being in parks…even with their own children ….if it becomes law. Senate Bill 2824 puts me with sex predators because my victim was ten when I KISSED HER and tweaked her breast on the outside of her blouse on April 17,2000. This is what I was convicted of…no sex, no nudity, no touching vagina.. I have been sober ten years, 32 days and 12 hours. The mother of my victim just sent a letter to the governor asking him to veto Senate Bill 2824 because it is not just. My crime is nothing similar to a sex predator’s crime.
    If you have a family member in a similar situation call the Citizens Action Office(217-782-0244) and ask them to tell the governor to veto Senate Bill 2824.
    My phone is 815-973-4730. I have been sending letters to offenders and family…and even the representatives who voted for the bill….REP CONSTANCE HOWARD was the chair of the legislative comm that introduced the bill to the floor…she and 18 other representatives voted NO on the house vote. Sincerely, Ken Burnell

    Posted by Ken Burnell | May 20, 2010, 1:30 PM
  6. P. Hays (above) wondered how many jails would need to be built to house all sex predators. If all now living who have broken the Romeo Juliet laws were now in jail they would number 4 out of 29 males or about 14 million which is about 4 times the number now incarcerated for all offences and that is a lot of jails. My statistical sample is from conversations at a reunion with co-graduates of the class of 1950, the prudish sex era, and all my buddies may not have been honest about it and there was some error involved because we tend to remember freshman, sophmore, junior, and senior and not ages.
    Of these 14 million sex predators that our legislators would like to see kept from parks, I doubt more than a very small percentage are stalking children for sex. The problem is in the silly definition of predator … the police should concentrate on real predators and not have their efforts diluted watching the rest. A better classification scheme is sorely needed to put the enforcement efforts where they are needed. From the 9 case records I have examined, only 1 could be a potential preditor dangerous to children in parks.
    Full disclosure: I’ve never been charged with any kind of crime, but know a young man who was literally stalked by a young woman until he gave in and messed up his life. They now both have families but when 2824 becomes law he won’t be able to take his children to a park.
    I concur with the comments of the preceding contributors but hold no hope for our Governor to veto 2824 in the face of the large house & senate pro votes. I have of course called the citizens action office anyway

    Posted by William Cochran | July 13, 2010, 9:39 PM
  7. I’m also a registered sex offender and am continuously amazed how our so called legislature can constantly retroactively change laws? I finally catch up and comply with one and it is changed and therefore I have to start all over again. Almost getting to the point of moving to another country just to get away from this foolishness. I agree, there is no hope that this bill will be vetoed; with the margins on the vote it is veto proof

    Posted by Karl Roberts | July 17, 2010, 1:07 PM
  8. Illinois laws are ridiculous in regards to sex offenders. My son was coerced into a confession by a police officer by showing him the so called victims statement and told him to make it match and he would get a slap on the wrist and go home. This person had lied about her age and was being abused by a stepfather. He was the one who pushed the police report being made after a very bad beating. Anyway the officer agreed to go check on this young ladies safety if he made the statement. my son has ADD and a chronic illness which is triggered by stress and so he created his confession. He did not say he had sex, so the officer had him write “we had sex” and an arrow pointing to the sentence. He was convicted on this confession. This victim came forward at the sentencing hearing and told the truth, then the same prosecuting attorney who said how brave she was at the trial was now calling her a liar. The judge said “if I let him go, I will have to arrest her,and I ain’t doing that. So hes a sex offender for life.. The victim was later killed by a drunk driver who did two years in jail, and has no “life” restrictions whereas my son has to jump through hoops everyday of his natural life. A church closes and a school buys it and then he has to move cause of the 500 feet rule. Lost an awesome job because of the felony charge. These laws are made to make them fail. just try to get hold of the person who is to register you at the police station of your community. Go through this everytime he registers, whether for work or for yearly, this is horrible. What do we do to change these unjust laws.Most “real” dangerous sex offenders leave their area to go find their victims. For example the hornbeck and ownbsy boys. they sure weren’t take from a school or park. Come on people, get real. More responsible parents and child caregivers can help prevent crimes, not these stupid laws. Heck, a murderer can move next door, or stats show that a family member will most likely offend then the registered offender who has paid his dues to society.

    Posted by Doris | October 7, 2010, 10:00 PM
  9. Wha about the kids of sex offenders? Wha about the yound adults who have childeren after there registration, they dont think about them…Parents cant go and see there kids at there ball games, go to parks, go fishing and enjoy being with there kids in the out doors…they dont realise how much this hurts the parents, and when those kids grow up wha do they tell there kids when they ask, why cant you come to my game daddy? Why cant you watch me? It jus brings tears to my eyes knowing I wont be able to see them like that…video camera dont capture the real moments your children want to spend with there parents growing up, they dont understand how these things effect a child and they’re parents. Id be happy with not having to re-offend after a certain amount of years that gives you amenisty to go to parks.

    Posted by Dan | April 1, 2011, 2:55 PM
  10. I am the mother and legal guardian of a sex offender,my grown son, “J”,35, because he has Asperger’s (a type of Autism that basically means he will always be as confused as a teenager about social behaviors, rarely able to understand what people are doing or why they are doing it and extremely easy to be taken advantage of). On top of that he’s a pretty nice guy, willing to help anyone so he gets taken advantage of often and makes social blunders constantly. I am shocked/angered that parts of his experience so closely match Doris’s statement above. There is no comfort in knowing we aren’t the only ones to be lied to and cheated; immorally and illegally abused by law officials misusing these inefficient (also cruel and unusual punishment) sex offender laws–laws that promote treating sex offenders as less than human. Just one true example: When I confronted him the prosecuter indicated to me that he found it amusing to have intentionally sent J to prison with (illegally) altered paperwork that stated J was convicted of violently raping a v-e-r-y young child instead of having consentual sex with an almost adult. It was discovered and corrected before J was released into the general population of the prison where he would have been badly injured or even killed by inmates. J’s lawyer said this wasn’t unusual.
    Because of guardianship I have had access to all info about his cases–yes, there were 2 incidences about 3 years apart when he was 22 and 25. In both cases the 2 young women (I spoke with them myself) were 15 but mentally and emotionally more mature than J. Professional evaluations performed when J was 25 document he was functioning on the same level as a normal 13 year old. Neither girl had wanted to involve the police and each testified that she put a lot of time and effort, involving friends to get J drunk etc., into arranging to have sex with J.
    Take (#1)the difficulty of where a sex offender in Illinois can/cannot live, factor in (#2)that J needs a lot of help because of his disability, that he is (#3)a single parent –you can read between the lines to guess how badly his wife treated him and the baby in order for J to get sole custody with no visitation for the ex-wife (by the way, why do all the single parent assistance programs in southern Illinois apply only to single moms and not single dads??) and (#4) try to find any decent place he can afford to live on his $632 a month disability income. Think about how a single parent sex offender copes with their child’s school when many want to interpret the law as prohibiting the parent from stepping anywhere near school property. One good thing is that he’s lived here his whole life and the people that know him know he has a lot of trouble but does not intend to harm anyone. BUT if he can’t find a suitable place to live here he will lose even that.
    I’d side with the imates about what should happen to true sexual criminals but it is not right that persons guilty of sexual “offences” based on legal technicalities without harm and without the intent to harm are lumped in the same category with predators and sexually violent criminals.

    Posted by Debby Green | April 8, 2011, 3:17 PM
  11. I have a very open mind and have researched all information availlable to me. Not all sex offender re-offend.. In Iowa sex offenders can live within 2500 ft of school, parks, or daycares.. etc. but let look at the reality of these so called rules. Are they really protecting our children? NO because it says the cant “live:” not can walk past, stand by, or just look accorss the street. we need to offer treatment. Also do the law or law makers think by taking family from these offenders are causeing them to be better people. Like DAN above said, Sex offenders are people too, Many learna nd just want to live a normal life and move on , but can because we have simple minded peole who thinks they all need to live under bridges. Really i would like to know hom may of you would consider yoursselves a child of GOD ???? i hoe none,because GOD forgives all and everone deserves a second chance. BTW im not a sex offender, just believe in the allmighty GOD and know what the bible tell me to LOVE all and JUDGE none..

    Posted by boobear | April 24, 2012, 1:27 PM

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