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2009 – As of the 2009/2010 school year, each school district has been obliged to incorporate a component on Internet safety into the curriculum and this must be taught at least once a year beginning with third graders. With the passage of the Illinois Internet Safety Act, an act which aims to educate students on inappropriate communication and solicitation from predators and to encourage districts to provide education regarding Internet threats and risks, schools districts may decide which internet safety topics are covered, but suggestions include the safe use of social networking sites, recognizing and reporting online solicitations, the risks of transmitting personal information over the Internet, and recognizing cyberbullying and copyright laws on digital media.
Also in 2009 , the State Superintendent of Education and Attorney General joined forces to launch a statewide competition, with the goal of raising awareness of internet safety education. The contest came to a close in March 2010 after students submitted posters, videos, podcasts and slideshows on the topic. Seven students who earned first place in a variety of categories received their prizes in a ceremony at the Governor’s mansion.
The Illinois State Board of Education has a range of Internet safety information available on its website. To find out more go to http://www.isbe.net/ed-technology/html/internet_safety.htm The Attorney General also created age-appropriate Internet safety training modules for grades 3-12 as required by 105 ILCS 5/27-13.3.15 The modules cover sexting, cyberbullying, piracy and online exploitation.
2010 – Governor Pat Quinn signed a new anti-bullying bill into law, aimed at reducing bullying in schools. The law, Public Act (PA) 96-0952, became effective immediately and its key features are to expand the definition of bullying and to require gang prevention training in Illinois schools.
2011 – Internet safety competitions with different themes such as cyberbullying, digital citizenship, and bystander intervention were held in 2010, 2011, and 2012, in collaboration between the Attorney General’s office and the Illinois State Board of Education. As part of the new 2009 Internet Safety Curriculum, students were encouraged to make posters about each theme.
Illinois Internet Crimes Against Children
Illinois’ chapter of the ICAC which investigates and prosecutes online sexual predators.
Illinois Learning Technology Centers
These centers help with hardware and software for school districts and also provide teacher readiness for the integration of technology into classrooms
Illinois State Board of Education
The ISBE has an Internet Safety tab which gives information about the Internet Safety Act as well as other Best Practices
Illinois State General Attorney
The Attorney General’s website has a link to Internet safety and a “stay connected, stay informed’ tab that offers resources regarding online safety and a hotline for cyberbullying and other related issues.
Cyberbullying in Illinois Public Schools (2009)T. Roskamp
This dissertation examines incidents of cyberbullying in Illinois schools during the 2007/2008 school year and fall 2008 and the actions taken by principals.
Survey of the Use of Assistive Technology by Illinois Students Who are Visually Impaired (2002)G. Kapperman, J. Sticken, T. Heinze
This report examines the usage of assistive technology in Illinois schools where a visually impaired person attends.
Evaluation of the Use of Technology in Illinois Public Schools: Final Report (2000)G. Silverstein, J. Frechtling, A. Miyaoka
This report presents the primary findings drawn from the implementation of technology into schools and classrooms in Illinois Public Schools and the relation to student improvement.
Technology Investment, Use, and Evaluation: An Exploratory Study of the Practices in Illinois School Districts (1999)G. Schlichting
This dissertation examines the links between technology investment, use, and evaluation and organizational goals in Illinois school districts
This section contains details of the state’s laws as they relate to sexual offenses, children and the use of the Internet in the commission of criminal activity. Where possible, sentence details have been given, including whether an increased custodial penalty is imposed where the victim is a child.
Unless otherwise specified, felonies in the state of Illinois are sentenced as follows and all felonies carry a fine of up to $25,000:
- For a Class X felony there is a minimum prison term of six years and a maximum term of 30 years unless the offense is classified as an extended term Class X felony in which case a term of 30 to 60 years’ imprisonment applies.
- A Class 1 felony incurs a prison term of five to fifteen years. An extended term Class 1 felony incurs a term of fifteen to 30 years’ imprisonment.
- A Class 2 felonies incur prison terms of three to seven years unless it is an extended term Class 2 felony in which case the prison term is seven to fourteen years.
- A Class 3 felony incurs a prison term of two to five years unless it is an extended term Class 3 felony in which case the prison term is five to ten years.
- A Class 4 felony incurs a prison term of one to three years unless it is an extended term Class 4 felony in which case the prison term is three to six years.
Unless otherwise specified, misdemeanors in the state of Illinois are sentenced as follows:
- A Class A misdemeanor incurs a prison term of 364 days or less and or a fine of up to $2,500.
- A Class B misdemeanor incurs a prison term of not more than 180 days and or a fine up of to $1,500.
- A Class C misdemeanor incurs a prison term of not more than 30 days and or a fine of up to $1,500.
In the event that a person has been convicted twice previously of (among other offenses) a Class X felony or criminal sexual assault and is then convicted a third time, they will be deemed to be a habitual criminal and (unless the death penalty is imposed) a sentence of life imprisonment will be imposed. This applies where the third offense was committed after July 1980 and within twenty years of the date that judgment was entered on the first conviction. Time served in custody will not be counted.
In 2011, the state’s death penalty was repealed and replaced with a sentence of natural life imprisonment – that is, that an offender would serve the rest of their life in prison.17
- 105 Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS) 5/27-13.3. Internet Safety Education Curriculum. States that each school district must incorporate into the school curriculum, a component on Internet safety, to be taught at least once each school year to students in grades 3 - 12. The purpose of the education is to inform and protect students from inappropriate or illegal communications and solicitation. The school board shall determine the scope and duration of this unit of instruction. The age-appropriate unit of instruction may be incorporated into the current courses of study regularly taught in the district’s schools, as determined by the school board. Suggested topics for inclusion are given.
- 105 ILCS 5/27 23.7. Bullying Prevention. Mandates that each school district must create and maintain a policy on bullying, which will be on file with the State Board of Education, that specifically includes bullying using electronic means. Schools must also keep records concerning any bullying incidents that happen within school jurisdiction and what action was taken.
- 325 ILCS 5/4.5 Electronic and Information Technology Workers; Reporting Child Pornography. This section states that if an electronic and IT equipment worker discovers any depiction of child pornography while servicing an item of electronic and IT equipment, that worker or the worker’s employer shall immediately report the discovery to the local law enforcement agency or to the Cyber Tipline at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Failure to do so is a business offense subject to a fine of $1,001.
- 720 ILCS 5/10 5.1. Luring of a Minor. Defines the offense as being committed by someone over the age of eighteen who knowingly contacts or communicates electronically with a child under the age of fifteen with the intent to lure them away from their home or other authorized place without the express consent of the minor’s parent or legal guardian to commit an unlawful act. As a first offense, the section carries a Class 4 felony classification. If the perpetrator is a convicted sex offender the offense is deemed to be a Class 2 felony. If the perpetrator is over eighteen but under 21, a first offense is a Class B misdemeanor. A second or subsequent offense under this section committed by a convicted sex offender is a Class 1 felony. A third or subsequent offense committed under this section is a Class 1 felony unless the perpetrator is a convicted sex offender in which case it is deemed to be a Class X felony.
- 720 ILCS 5/11-1.30. Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault. States, among other things, that anyone under the age of seventeen who commits an act of sexual penetration with a child who is at least nine years of age but under thirteen by the use of force or threat of force commits an offense. This is deemed to be a Class X felony. A second or subsequent offense under this section is punishable by a term of natural life imprisonment.
- 720 ILCS 5/11 1.40. Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child. States that anyone aged seventeen or above who commits an act of contact, however slight, between the sex organ or anus of one person and the part of the body of another for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal of the victim on a child under the age of thirteen is guilty of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, a Class X felony offense. The offender is liable to imprisonment for between six to 60 years. Where the offender was armed with a firearm, an additional fifteen years will be added to the sentence. Where the offender discharged the weapon, 20 years will be added to the sentence. Causing the victim to be permanently disabled or to suffer a life threatening injury will render the offender liable to imprisonment for a term ranging from 50 years up to natural life imprisonment. The section also states that where the offense was committed against two or more persons, an increased penalty of imprisonment for natural life will apply. A second or subsequent offense under this section will incur a penalty of natural life imprisonment.
- 720 ILCS 5/11 1.50. Criminal Sexual Abuse. Defines, among other definitions, the offense as performing an act of sexual penetration on sexual conduct with a child aged nine or above but under seventeen when the offender is aged under seventeen, or where the offender is less than five years older than the victim and the victim is at least 13 years of age but under 17 years of age. This is deemed to be a Class A misdemeanor.
- 720 ILCS 5/11 1.60. Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse. States that a person is guilty of this offense if that person is seventeen years of age or over and commits an act of sexual conduct with a victim who is under thirteen years of age, or with a victim who is at least thirteen years of age but under seventeen and the person uses force or threat of force to commit the act. It is also an offense for anyone under seventeen years of age to commit an act of sexual conduct with a victim who is under nine years of age, or where victim is at least nine years of age but under seventeen and the offender uses force or threat of force to commit the act. The section also states that anyone who commits an act of sexual penetration with a victim aged thirteen to sixteen where the offender is at least five years older than the victim is also guilty of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. The offense is deemed to be a Class 2 felony.
- 720 ILCS 5/11 1.70. Defenses with Respect to Offenses Described in Sections 11 1.20 through 11 1.60. States that it is an affirmative defense to a charge under section 11 1.20 through 11 1.60 where force or threat of force is an element of the offense that the victim consented. The manner of dress of the victim at the time of the offense shall not constitute consent.
- 720 ILCS 5/11 6. Indecent Solicitation of a Child. This offense determines that if a person over the age of seventeen knowingly solicits a child (or one believed to be a child) to perform an act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct they are in violation of this section. Discussing an act of sexual conduct or sexual penetration with the child via use of the Internet is also included under this offense, if there is the intent to carry out the act. The penalty for the crime is determined by the level of assault. If the crime constitutes predatory criminal sexual assault of a child or aggravated criminal sexual assault, the offense is deemed to be a Class 1 felony. If the crime constitutes a criminal sexual assault the offense is deemed to be a Class 2 felony. If the crime is deemed to be aggravated criminal sexual abuse then Class 3 felony penalties apply. Discussion of the commission of sexual penetration or a sexual act with the child by means of the Internet is deemed to be a Class 4 felony.
- 720 ILCS 5/11 6.5. Indecent Solicitation of an Adult. This section states that if a person aged seventeen years or over arranges for another person to commit an act of sexual penetration with a child under the age of seventeen years of age (the offense differentiates between those aged under and over thirteen years of age), an offense has been committed. The offense also applies where a person arranges for another person to commit an act of sexual conduct with a child under the age of seventeen. The term “arranges” can refer to telephonic, electronic or written means. If the arrangement involves sexual penetration with a child under the age of thirteen it is deemed to be a Class X felony. If the child is aged over thirteen years of age but is under seventeen years of age it is deemed to be a Class 1 felony. If the arrangement involves sexual contact with a child under the age of thirteen it is deemed to be a Class 2 felony. If the child is over thirteen but under seventeen it is deemed to be a Class A misdemeanor.
- 720 ILCS 5/11 6.6. Solicitation to Meet a Child. The offense is defined as when a person aged over the age of eighteen uses a computer, cell phone or other device to communicate with a child and arranges to meet them without their parents’ knowledge, for an unlawful purpose. The offense is deemed to be a Class A misdemeanor unless the adult believes they are five or more years older than the child. Under those circumstances the offense is deemed to be a Class 4 felony.
- 720 ILCS 5/11 9.1. Sexual Exploitation of a Child. Defines the offense as (among other definitions) when a person engages in a sexual act or displays their genitals in the presence of a child aged under seventeen. Enticing, coercing or persuading the child to remove the child’s clothing for the purposes of sexual gratification is also included in this statute. The offense is deemed to be a Class A misdemeanor unless it is a second or subsequent violation of this section (committed within Illinois or outside the state) in which case it is deemed to be a Class 4 felony. The Class 4 felony penalty also applies if the perpetrator has previously been committed of any other sexual offense or if the child concerned was under thirteen years of age at the time of the offense.
- 720 ILCS 5/11 9.3. Presence within School Zone by Child Sex Offenders Prohibited. Approaching, Contacting, Residing with, or Communicating with a Child within Certain Places by Child Sex Offenders Prohibited. This section states that it is unlawful for a person convicted of a sexual offense against a child to be present on any school property (including transportation) when children are present. The offender must stay more than 500 feet from the property. Exceptions include parents who are present with members of school staff to discuss their child’s academic or behavioral performance. It is also deemed unlawful for the offender to knowingly be within 100 yards of a designated drop-off or collection point for school transportation when one or more children under the age of eighteen are present. A violation of this section is deemed to be a Class 4 felony. This section also prohibits persons convicted of sexual offenses against children from being present in public parks when children under the age of eighteen are present. They are also prohibited from communicating with or approaching the children. The offender is also prohibited from loitering within 500 feet of a public park, daycare facility, playground or any institution that provides services exclusively for children. An exception to this rule if where the offender’s residence falls within the 500 feet zone but is owned by the offender and was purchased before this section came into force in August 2008. Subsection (b-20) of this statute makes it unlawful for a convicted sex offender to use the Internet or other digital media to communicate with anyone who is, or is believed to be, under the age of eighteen. The offender is prohibited from owning, operating or working with children at any organization that deals exclusively with children under the age of eighteen. The offender may not work at any county fair when children under eighteen are present. From January 2009 it became unlawful for a convicted offender to lease a residential unit within which the offender also resides to a parent of a child under the age of eighteen. Offenders are also prohibited from operating vehicles that sell food or beverages, such as an ice cream truck, or any emergency service vehicles. Any violation of this section is deemed to be a Class 4 felony.
- 720 ILCS 5/11 14.1. Solicitation of a Sexual Act. This section states, among other things, that anyone who solicits a sexual act from a child under the age of eighteen is guilty of a Class 4 felony offense. It is a defense to a charge under this section that the accused believed the minor to be over the age of eighteen years.
- 720 ILCS 5/11 14.4. Promoting Juvenile Prostitution. States that anyone who advances the prostitution of a minor under the age of eighteen or profits from such prostitution is guilty of a Class 1 felony, unless committed within 1,000 feet of real property comprising a school, in which case it is a Class X felony. Anyone who profits from the prostitution of a child under the age of thirteen is guilty of a Class X felony. The section also states that confining a child under the age of eighteen against his/her will by using threat, means of violence, threats of violence, alcoholic drink or drugs and forcing them to act as a prostitute or profiting from such, is deemed to be a Class X felony and renders the offender liable to a term of imprisonment of between six to 60 years.
- 720 ILCS 5/11 20.1. Child Pornography. This section states that the visual depiction by any means (including the creation of a depiction using a computer) of a child under the age of eighteen engaged in a sexual act is deemed to be an offense. The solicitation or enticement of a child to take part in a performance which leads to a visual representation of that child being created, performing or taking part in a sexual act, is also prohibited, as is the solicitation or enticement of a child to appear in any videotape, photograph etc.. Any of the above are deemed to be a crime of violence, punishable as follows: if the violation does not involve a film, video tape or other moving depiction, it is a Class 1 felony with a mandatory fine between $2,000 to $100,000. Where the violation does involve a film or other moving depiction, it is deemed to be a Class X felony with the same fine as above. The reproduction, dissemination or possession with intent to disseminate the images, knowing their content, is also covered under this section as a child pornography offense. If the offense does not involve a film etc., it is classed as a Class 1 felony with a mandatory fine between $1,000 to $100,000; with a film etc. it is a Class X felony with the same mandatory fine. The possession of more than one copy of the same depiction is considered grounds that there was intent to disseminate the images. The section also states that the possession of child pornography is also deemed an offense, punishable as a Class 3 felony with a fine between $1,000 to $100,000 if no moving image is involved, or a Class 2 felony if it is. A second or subsequent offense under this section within ten years of a prior conviction will lead to psychiatric examination of the offender. The equipment used to produce the offensive images is subject to forfeiture. The section also states that telecommunications carriers, mobile phone providers and providers of information services, such as ISPs, are not liable under this section.
- 720 ILCS 5/11 20.1B. Aggravated Child Pornography. States that anyone who commits a child pornography offense as described above (except simple possession) where the victim is under the age of thirteen is guilty of aggravated child pornography. This is deemed to be a Class X felony offense with a mandatory fine of between $2,000 to $100,000. Second and subsequent offenses carry a minimum term of imprisonment for nine years. Possession of pornography featuring a child under the age of thirteen is a Class 2 felony with a fine of between $1,000 to $100,000; second and subsequent offenses lead to reclassification to a Class 1 felony offense. The equipment used to produce the offensive images is subject to forfeiture.
- 720 ILCS 5/11 20.2. Duty of Commercial Film and Photographic Print Processors or Computer Technicians to Report Sexual Depiction of Children. This section places a legal obligation on commercial processors of film and photographic print to report suspected images containing child pornography. Failure to make such a report is deemed to be a business offense and is subject to a $1,000 fine.
- 720 ILCS 5/11 21. Harmful Material. The offense is defined as knowingly selling, giving, distributing or exhibiting to a minor any material which the adult community as a whole would find offensive. The material concerned can include (but is not limited to) computer games, pictures and books. The section also includes the purchase or sale of harmful material by or to a minor over the Internet. (A child under the age of eighteen who falsely claims to be over that age in order to successfully purchase such material is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.) The offense is deemed to be a Class A misdemeanor unless it is a second or subsequent conviction under this section, in which case it is deemed to be a Class 4 felony.
- 720 ILCS 5/11 23. Posting of Identifying or Graphic Information on a Pornographic Internet Site or Possessing Graphic Information with Pornographic Material. Defines the offense as when someone over seventeen years of age posts publicly identifying information such as a name or contact details of someone of at least seventeen years of age on a pornographic website without their knowledge. If the victim is over seventeen years of age the offense is deemed to be a Class 4 felony. If the victim is under seventeen years of age the offense is deemed to be a Class 3 felony.
- 720 ILCS 5/11 24. Child Photography by Sex Offender. This section states that it is unlawful for a convicted child sex offender to knowingly photograph, videotape or take a digital image of a child, or to direct someone else to do so. They may not operate a business that enables them to do any of those things or to instruct or direct someone else to do so. Violation of the section is deemed to be a Class 2 felony unless the images were taken at a park, playground, day care facility, school, forest preserve, or at a facility providing products or services to children under the age of seventeen. In that instance, the offense is deemed to be a Class 1 felony.
- 720 ILCS 5/11 25. Grooming. Defines the offense as using the Internet (or services such bulletin boards) to seduce, solicit or lure (among other definitions) a child to commit a sex offense, or to engage in any sexual conduct with a child or someone believed to be a child. The offense is deemed to be a Class 4 felony.
- 720 ILCS 5/11 26. Travelling to Meet a Minor. Constitutes that if the perpetrator travels any distance within or outside the state in order to commit a sex offense or to engage in sexual conduct with a child or someone believed to be a child they are in breach of this section. The offense is deemed to be a Class 3 felony.
- 720 ILCS 5/12-7.3. Stalking. Defines stalking as, among other things, engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that places this person in fear for his/her safety or causes the victim to suffer emotional distress. “Course of conduct” means two or more acts, which may include contact via electronic communications by a computer of through the Internet. Stalking is a Class 4 felony, whilst second or subsequent offenses are deemed to be a Class 3 felony. Telecommunications carriers, commercial mobile service providers, and providers of information services, such as ISPs, are not liable under this section.
- 720 ILCS 5/12-7.4. Aggravated Stalking. States, among other things, that a registered sex offender who commits stalking is guilty of this offense. This is classed as a Class 3 felony. The offense is aggravated if the person commits stalking, and also causes bodily harm to a victim, confines or restrains or violates a temporary restraining order while stalking.
- 720 ILCS 5/12-7.5. Cyberstalking. Defines cyberstalking as engaging in a course of conduct using electronic communication directed at a specific person, knowing that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his/her safety or suffer emotional distress. The definition also includes harassing another person on at least two separate occasions using electronic communication, and threatening to cause bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement or restraint to the victim; placing the victim in reasonable fear of any of the above; or soliciting the commission of an act which as a violation of this Code. Maintaining or creating an Internet site which is accessible to one or more persons for at least 24 hours which contains statements harassing another person in a way described above is also classed as cyber-stalking. This is deemed to be a Class 4 felony and a second or subsequent offense is a Class 3 felony. The section also states that telecommunications carriers, commercial mobile service providers, and providers of information services, such as ISPs, are not liable under this section.
- 720 ILCS 135/1. Harassing and Obscene Communications Act. Defines the offense as sending messages or language which is lewd or obscene, with intent to cause offense, while using a telephone or telegraph facilities, equipment or wires of any person, firm or corporation engaged in the transmission of news or messages between states or within the State of Illinois. This is deemed to be a Class B misdemeanor.
- 720 ILCS 135/1 2. Harassment Through Electronic Communications. Defines the offense which includes the use of a computer or the Internet to harass another person. The Class B misdemeanor penalty is increased to a Class A misdemeanor where the perpetrator is over eighteen years of age and the victim is under eighteen years of age. The penalty for this offense is a minimum of fourteen days in jail or of 240 hours of public or community service.
- 720 ILCS 135/2. Sentence. States, among other things, that anyone who commits a second offense under the Harassing and Obscene Communications Act is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. Where the offender was an adult and the victim under the age of eighteen, the classification will be aggravated to a Class 4 felony.
- 730 ILCS 5/5 4 3.2. Collection and Storage of Internet Protocol Addresses. Authorizes the Attorney General to establish and maintain the Illinois Cyber-crimes Location Database (ICLD) to collect, store and use Internet Protocol (IP) addresses for the purposes of investigating and prosecuting child exploitation crimes on the Internet. Upon motion for a defendant’s commitment under the Sexually Dangerous Persons Act the State’s Attorney or Attorney General will record all the IP addresses that the defendant has access to or controls. Upon conviction of any of the qualifying offenses a State’s Attorney will record the details of all IP addresses to which the convicted person has access or controls.