Under Illinois law, people have certain protections against unfair practices on behalf of the police and prosecutors. When people face serious criminal charges, like sexual assault charges, these protections ensure that people receive fair criminal proceedings.
In one Illinois case, these protections led to prosecutors drop the charges against a 25-year-old man who had been facing allegations of sexual assault. However, after a 15 hour long raid by the FBI, the man has recently been re-charged with felony criminal sexual assault.
Prior to the allegations, the man was working as a police officer for the police department at Northern Illinois University. Prosecutors say that he was assigned to work in a dormitory where he began a relationship with a student. Soon after, the student accused the man of sexually assaulting her. The man then faced charges for the first time.
However, following these charges, prosecutors discovered that the NIU police department had been hiding evidence that could have proven the man was innocent. Once this was discovered, the police chief was fired and the charges were dropped.
Recently, the FBI and federal prosecutors got involved in the case. They carried out an extensive investigation of the NIU police department including searching hard drives and other files. While the results of this investigation are not known, the evidence they collected was enough for a grand jury to approve new charges against the man. The man has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Sexual assault charges are very serious and carry heavy penalties. The man in this case faces up to 15 years in prison if he is found guilty of sexual assault. In order to protect against these charges, those accused of sexual assault must understand their rights and the charges against them. If police or prosecutors violate these rights, charges could be dropped.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Former NIU cop pleads not guilty to rape charge,” Stacy St. Clair, March 14, 2013