call us630-584-4800

Free Consultations

Decades of Child Abuse Exposed

Posted on in Family Law

child abuse, Illinois family lawyer, Kane County, child abuse, lawyer, attorneyA heartbreaking story of child abuse broke early this year, on January 21st 2014, when 6000 pages of allegations against 68 Chicago priests were released to the public. Of course, the problem of abuse in the Church did not just recently surface. Accounts of child abuse date back 500 years; one of the reasons cited for the Protestant Reformation includes Martin Luther’s dismay at questionable conduct he witnessed at the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church on his first pilgrimage there. In 1517, he traveled to Rome a devout follower of the Catholic faith, and he left determined to start a movement against it. Despite the sordid side of its history, the Catholic Church is certainly not the only institution involved in such indignity – other churches, schools, daycares, colleges, residential care facilities, and private homes have all had instances of abuse.

Legal Ramifications Even where abuse cases are reported years later, brave victims may receive some solace in the public acknowledgment of the crime, and the resulting formation of better practices to reduce the number of new victims. The allegations surrounding the Chicago incidents were published online as part of a settlement agreement between the Chicago Archdiocese of the Catholic Church and attorneys of the victims. Most of these cases of abuse occurred prior the 1990 and apparently all of them were eventually reported to authorities. Part of the outrage in Chicago, similar to the scandal surrounding Jerry Sandusky at Penn State, was based on how various authorities – specifically the hierarchy in the church – handled, or mishandled, reports as they came in. In order to protect individuals and the reputation of the church as a whole, officials chose to transfer offenders to new churches as a temporary solution, and cast a blind eye where possible. Friends and family members of victims have responded strongly to this organizational conspiracy however, and the criminal laws punishing perpetrators of child abuse are significant.

In addition to being registered in the sex offender registry, convicted sexual abusers of children in Illinois can receive considerable penalties, including:

For sexual abuse of a child:
  • 1st offense – felony, 1-3 yrs in jail and/or up to $25,000 fine; and
  • 2nd offense – felony, 3-7 yrs in jail and/or up to $25,000 fine.
For predatory sexual abuse of a child, which includes penetration:
  • 1st offense – felony, 6-30 yrs in jail and/or up to $25,000 fine; or
  • 2nd offense (drugging the child) – felony, 50-60 yrs in jail and/or $25,000 fine.
Legal Assistance If you have been abused or know of someone who has, an experienced attorney can give you guidance about what legal actions you might take. There is additional helpful information for victims on the Illinois Department of Family and Children Services website. In the arena of family law, at a domestic level, child abuse often comes into play regarding parental rights of custody and visitation. The experienced attorneys at Goostree Law Group standby, ready to talk in complete confidence and assist you however we possibly can.
Last modified on
Back to Top