Under 720 ILCS 5/11-1.20, using force or threat of force to commit a penetrative sexual act against someone else is considered sexual assault. The law also states that if someone commits a penetrative sexual act against another person, despite knowing that the other person does not have the ability to consent to the sexual activity. Criminal sexual assault is a Class 1 felony in Illinois and can result in up to 15 years in jail upon conviction. A criminal conviction can also have a long-term affect one’s future, particularly, for a young person who is just starting their career.
An Illinois college student, just a few days away from graduation, was charged with criminal sexual assault following an alleged incident at a fraternity house. The 22-year-old student apparently committed a sexual act against a now 22-year-old woman, who had reportedly been drinking and was unable to consent. The alleged victim reported the incident to police but apparently decided not to pursue criminal charges. The student confirmed that the woman was in the fraternity house the night of the incident, but denied having sex with her.
The “he said, she said” nature of many sexual assault cases can make it difficult to prove one’s innocence. The alleged perpetrator may say that the victim consented to the sexual activity, but the victim may deny consenting or claim they were too intoxicated to give consent.
If one has been charged with criminal sexual assault, a solid criminal defense strategy is essential. For example, the attorney may help locate an alibi who can prove the accused was not with the alleged victim at the time of the incident. With the right strategy in place, one has a better chance at being found not guilty.