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Becoming a Legal Adult: Sexual Crimes Q & A

Q: What are sexual crimes?

A: Sexual crimes involve some sexual contact without consent. The contact does not have to be intercourse.

Q: What is "sexual conduct?"

A: Sexual conduct is any intentional touching of another person’s private parts for "sexual arousal or gratification."

Q: What does "consent" mean?

A: Consent means freely given agreement, through either words or conduct, to sexual conduct. Consent can be withdrawn at any time. Also, some people are considered unable to give consent either because of their age or some disability.

Q: What are the penalties for sexual crimes?

A: The penalty for the particular crime will depend on many things, including the amount of force used, the nature of the sexual conduct, and the age of the victim. Many sexual crimes are considered felonies, the most serious type of criminal violation.

Q: Can sexual crimes occur within a marriage?

A: Yes. A sexual crime can occur between husband and wife. The question is whether there was consent for the sexual contact.

Q: What are some examples of other sexual crimes?

A: Here are a few:

  • Sexual discrimination or harassment
  • Sexual intercourse outside of marriage (fornication)
  • Prostitution or hiring prostitutes

Download the full Becoming a Legal Adult Booklet here


Note: This information was prepared as a public service by the Illinois State Bar Association. Every effort has been made to provide accurate information at the time of publication. For the most current information, please consult your lawyer. If you need a lawyer and do not have one, visit our lawyer referral page.

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