If you engage in sexual activity with a minor who is under the Illinois Age of Consent of 17, you can be prosecuted under Illinois sexual abuse laws and charged with crimes ranging from sexual assault to first degree rape, regardless of whether or not the sexual acts were consensual.
Depending on the charges, conviction can carry penalties ranging from one to fifty years in prison and registration as a sex offender .
Illinois law criminalizes so-called “Romeo and Juliet” relationships, in which two consenting teens have sexual contact but one is under the age of 17, the legal age of consent.
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In the United States, age of consent laws regarding sexual activity are made at the state level.
There are several federal statutes related to protecting minors from sexual predators, but laws regarding specific age requirements for sexual consent are left to individual states, territories, and the District of Columbia.
Cases involving violence or a threat of violence are not eligible, nor are cases in which the victim was unable to understand or consent to the act.
Those requirements are meant to weed out child molesters, sexual predators and cases involving mental disability.“We’re all disgusted with older people who prey on young children, but that’s not what we’re talking about,” Pritchard says.
If Romeo were alive today, he would be a sex offender.