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Criminal Sexual Assault/Abuse

Criminal sexual assault or abuse, often referred to as rape, are very serious crimes that encompass a wide range of conduct. A person can be charged with criminal sexual assault or abuse not only for acts of penetration but also for other "act[s] of sexual conduct" such as touching. The charges are very specific, with each separate act being a separate offense. For example, a person may be charged for each time s/he touched or had sex with the victim.

Some convictions of criminal sexual abuse may only be misdemeanors while several factors, including the age and mental capacity of the victim, or the relationship of the victim to the defendant, can result in serious felony charges. In addition, those factors may also give rise to the more serious charges of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault or Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse. Using a weapon during the offense is even worse and in some cases, a defendant can be sentenced to life in prison.

Additional Consequences

Defendants charged with sexual assault or abuse may also face action from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), who may remove a victim or a charged family member from the household while the charges are pending. Defendants who are convicted may have to register as sex offenders in Illinois, which can be embarrassing and lead to difficulties finding housing and gaining employment.

Experience Matters

Because each act is charged with such specificity, and the penalties for the acts vary widely, the details in these cases are extremely important. Knowledge of the defendant's relationship to the victim, the age and mental state fo the victim, the defendant's prior criminal history, and the specifics of the charges are huge factors. This also means that the state must prove each and every one of those factors, giving the defense many opportunities to poke holes in the prosecutors' case.

Rape Shield

In addition, victims of alleged sexual assault or abuse are protected by the Rape Shield law- a law that bars defendants from admitting into evidence any evidence of the victim's sexual reputation or past sexual conduct. While the law protects victims from defendants who try to mount a charcter attack on a victim, many judges do not allow any reference to a victim's sexual conduct, even when introduced for a relevant and legitimate purpose. This can make it difficult for defendants to argue its theory of the case and present legitimate evidence that may show why an alleged victim had a motive to make the allegations against the defendant.

Constitutional Issues

In many of these cases, police will obtain statements from victim or the defendants. Whenever statements to police are involved, the defense may be able to defend the charges by moving to suppress the statements under the 4th or 5th Amendments. Villalobos & Associates has handled countless motions to suppress statements and has successfully barred admission of improperly obtained confessions.

Villalobos and Associates has succesfully defended numerous sexual assault and abuse cases and knows how to evaluate the complex laws, details, and circumstances of the charges as well as navigate the specific rules on how to present evidence in these cases.