Trends In The Handling Of Sexual Abuse Claims

On November 25, The Wall Street Journal had an article titled “Abuse Claims Less Likely to Be Ignored.”

The article contains a variety of statistics and other commentary on how sexual abuse has been reported, handled, and punished over the years.

A couple of excerpts:

The sexual-abuse investigation at Penn State marks the latest in a string of high-profile child-molestation allegations in recent decades, but experts say that doesn’t mean such crimes are becoming more common.

Instead, they say, society has become more aware of the threat of child sexual abuse, and far more aggressive about investigating and punishing it. Sentences have grown longer, and the number of people listed on sex-offender registries has jumped.


States have also increased the penalties for convictions. The median prison sentence for sex abusers was 70 months in 2006, up from 44 months in 1996, according to the most recent data from the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. A federal law enacted in 2006 created a mandatory sentence of at least 30 years for the aggravated sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12. There was no mandatory minimum sentence under prior federal law.

However, the article also states that experts believe that sexual abuse of children remains widely under-reported, for a variety of reasons.  It quotes one expert who cites that national surveys have indicated that only 10% of sexual abuse cases are reported to police.

Illinois Bill Regarding Mandatory Reporting Of Alleged Sex Abuse

A CBS Chicago article of November 23, titled “State Lawmaker Demands Mandatory Reporting Of Sex Abuse Claims” details a bill introduced in the Illinois House by State Rep. Dwight Kay (R).

An excerpt from the article:

Coaches accused of sexually abusing children could not – as has been alleged at Penn State University – hide behind their bosses under a bill introduced in the Illinois House.

As WBBM Newsrasdio’s Dave Dahl reports, in reaction to the child rape scandal at Penn State, State Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) says a coach could not say, “I did my job” just by passing the word up the line.

His bill adds to the list of “mandated reporters” – those who, by dint of their jobs, are required to call police when they witness or suspect abuse.

Additional details can be found in the above-referenced CBS Chicago article.



Chicago Man Convicted Of Running A Sex Trafficking Ring

According to an article in the November 21 Chicago Tribune titled “Man convicted of sex trafficking minors“, a man has been convicted of operating a sex trafficking ring which included nine victims who were forced into prostitution.

Datqunn Sawyer, 32, “was convicted after a two-week trial of 10 counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion and sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors by force.”

An excerpt from the article:

During the trial, officials said that Sawyer acted as a pimp who preyed on vulnerable victims including girls who were young, homeless, or runaways, officials said.

Officials said eight of the victims were between 13 and 17. Sawyer used violence and threats of violence to exploit them sexually, knowing they were minors, officials said.

According to officials, Sawyer faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment; he is to be sentenced on February 23.

Additional details and possible updates can be found in the Chicago Tribune article mentioned above.

Principal Of Lake Forest Illinois Middle School Placed On Leave Stemming From Sexual Harassment Case

The principal of a Lake Forest, Illinois middle school was placed on administrative leave yesterday after additional details were made known concerning his use of a work cell phone to send lewd photos and text messages to a college student who had visited the school during the course of an internship.

The principal is John Steinert, 40, who has been principal of the Deer Path Middle School.

Steinert had previously plead guilty to misdemeanor harassment in 2009, but the case is receiving renewed scrutiny as more details have been uncovered.

Additional details can be seen in the Chicago Tribune story of November 17 titled “Lake Forest principal on leave after admitting to sending lewd photo, texts to college student” as well as the November 18 Fox Chicago article titled “Principal suspended for Lewd Texts to College Student Sent from Work Phone.”

Bolingbrook Illinois Man On Trial For Alleged Sexual Assaults Of Two Teenage Girls

A Bolingbrook, Illinois man is on trial this week in Will County on charges of sexual assault of two 15-year-old girls in 2009

The man, Jose Solis, 23, previous went on trial for aggravated criminal sexual abuse in June 2010; however, that trial ended in a mistrial during its first day of testimony.

According to Assistant State’s Attorney Daniel Walsh, Solis – who turned 21 in 2009 – had the girls over to his home for parties during that summer, and had sex with the girls on separate occasions in June.  Walsh told jurors that that age of consent in Illinois is 17.

Solis’s attorney, Ricardo Munoz, said his client had thought the girls were 17 or older.

The girls have testified that they told Solis how old they were during the summer of 2009.

Additional details concerning the nature of the alleged assaults and possible updates can be found in the November 15 Joliet Herald-News story titled “Bolingbrook man on trial for sex assaults on teen girls.”