One former DuPage County teacher and coach has been accused of engaging in illegal sexual conduct with a student. The man has been charged with six counts of felony sexual assault and one count of aggravated sexual abuse. If he is convicted of these charges he may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 27 to 97 years. The victim of his alleged acts was reportedly 15 years old at the time. Sexual abuse and sexual assault are two similar but distinct crimes. The duration of his imprisonment, if convicted, will likely depend on which of the charges he is convicted of or pleads guilty to.
Differences Between Sexual Assault and Sexual Abuse
Most of us are not really familiar with the differences between sexual assault and sexual abuse. The terms are often used interchangeably, despite the fact that they are two very different sex crimes. Sexual abuse is generally a less serious offense and is often charged as a misdemeanor. Sexual assault, on the other hand, is always a felony offense. It is important to understand how these crimes are different and what type of behavior can trigger criminal charges.
Sexual abuse, as codified in 720 ILCS 5/11-1.50, is the crime of engaging in sexual conduct through the use of force or when the victim is unable to give consent. It is also a crime of sexual abuse to have sex with a minor. Specifically, it is a crime of sexual abuse to:
- Have sex with a minor between the ages of 9 and 17;
- Have sex with a minor between the ages of 13 and 17 when you are less than 5 years older than that victim.
So, sexual abuse can involve sexual conduct or sexual intercourse. The conduct that is prohibited depends on the age of the victim. Sexual conduct is defined as “any intentional or knowing touching or fondling by the victim or the accused…of the sex organs, anus, or breast…or any transfer or transmission or transfer of semen by the accused upon any part of the clothed or unclothed body of the victim for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal.”
Sexual conduct, as you can see, does not require sexual intercourse. However, if the victim is a minor, sexual intercourse can trigger criminal charges for sexual abuse. This is true even if the victim consented to the sexual act. In the case of the DuPage County teacher, he is likely facing charges for sexual abuse for engaging in sexual intercourse with his student in violation of 720 ILCS 5/11-1.5(b). However, since he faces charges for aggravated sexual abuse, it would probably follow that he did not have the student’s consent. Sexual abuse can be charged as a Class A misdemeanor or a Class 4 felony, depending on the specific facts and circumstances of the offense.
Sexual assault, as codified in 720 ILCS 5/11-1.20, is essentially the crime of rape. It is a crime of sexual assault to engage in sexual penetration when:
- You use force or the threat of force;
- The victim is unable to understand the nature of the act;
- The victim is unable to give consent;
- The victim is a family member under the age of 18; and
- The victim is between the ages of 13 and 18, and you hold a position of trust, authority, or supervision.
The crime of sexual assault always requires sexual penetration. Sexual penetration is defined as “any contact, however slight, between the sex organ or anus of one person and an object or the sex organ, mouth, or anus of another person, or any intrusion, however slight, of any part of the body of one person or of any animal or object into the sex organ or anus of another person, including, but not limited to, cunnilingus, fellatio, or anal penetration.”
Sexual penetration, then, does not necessarily have to be sexual intercourse in the traditional sense. Oral sex or acts of sodomy are sufficient to trigger criminal charges for sexual assault.
The former coach and teacher faces six counts of sexual assault for his alleged conduct with the 15-year-old student. Details of the encounters have not been released, but he is likely facing charges under section (a)(4) of the sexual assault law (sex with a minor while holding a position of authority). He faces six counts of felony criminal sexual assault, indicating that the teacher engaged in sexual penetration with the student on at least six occasions. Sexual assault can be charged as a Class 1 Felony or a Class X Felony, depending on the specific circumstances of the case.
If you have been charged with sexual assault or sexual abuse, then contact our DuPage County office for assistance.. Just because you have been accused of a crime does not mean that you will be charged or convicted. Contact the Kostopoulos Law Group today to schedule your free consultation.