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An act of compassion or the crime of Child Abduction or Indecent Solicitation?

Posted by Steven H. Fagan | Feb 26, 2014 | 0 Comments

A viral video available via YouTube shows a kid sitting at a bus stop in freezing cold weather in Oslo, Norway. The way people reacted can serve as a valuable lesson in humanity, but residents of the state of Illinois need to be aware of serious criminal offenses under Illinois law - child abduction and indecent solicitation.

The video depicts the kid shivering and in obvious distress. His sad situation is observed by total strangers who are unaware the whole thing is a video charitable promotion for providing winter coats for children. After a while, questions from strangers lead to an explanation that the young male is on a school field trip and his coat was stolen as he awaited the arrival of his teacher. Some strangers offer scarfs and gloves and eventually he is offered a coat in order to regain some warmth. Some who offer coats actually place the coats on the child and wrap him in their coats. Admirable.

Surely residents of the state of Illinois would act in a similar fashion. Should they? An interesting legal question indeed. The attorneys at Fagan, Fagan & Davis focus on Illinois criminal defense including offenses such as indecent solicitation, luring of a minor, grooming, child abduction and related criminal charges at Chicago area courthouses in Cook County, Lake County and DuPage County.

In the state of Illinois, intentionally luring or attempting to lure a child under the age of 16 into a motor vehicle, building or dwelling place without the consent or permission of the child's parents or guardian is the crime of child abduction. Indecent solicitation of a child is another Illinois criminal offense that may be implicated, where a person 17 years and older knowingly solicits a child to perform an act of sexual conduct.

The idea of helping a young person in distress such as the one depicted in the video mentioned above is understandable. But, the reality is that every year, Illinois residents are arrested and accused of crimes like child abduction or indecent solicitation when they were doing nothing more than stopping to offer help. In today's society, sometimes a kind act is easy to misconstrue as something far more sinister.

­ In the state of Illinois, the most prudent course of action is to call law enforcement and let them know there's a freezing kid at your location. Then, you should keep your distance and, if it's safe to do so, leave. There is a significant risk that your behavior may be misinterpreted. An arrest on a criminal charge of child abuction or indecent solicitation based even on innocent activity means having to defend yourself against the possibility of conviction, imprisonment, and future registration as a sex offender. How sad to think that way, but protecting yourself legally is as important as acting with compassion toward people in need.

The attorneys at Fagan, Fagan & Davis have defended countless clients against felony and misdemeanor charges like child abduction, grooming, indecent solicitation and other charges throughout the Chicago area courts, including those located in Cook County, DuPage County and Lake County.

If you or a loved one faces prosecution, don't hesitate. Contact us now for a free consultation.

About the Author

Steven H. Fagan

Steve Fagan earned his law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law, is a member of the NCDD, NACDL, ISBA and a founding member of the DUIDLA. He is published and has taught CLE for lawyers on subjects such as sex offenses, DUI and criminal defense, focuses on trial work and Real Estate closings


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