Few Sex Crime Reports Prosecuted In Southern Illinois, Newspaper Finds


Thousands of women, teenage girls and children in a 32-county area of Southern Illinois told police they were sexually violated by someone they trusted: a friend, an ex-boyfriend or a family member. Authorities did not prosecute seven out of 10 of these sex crime suspects from 2005-13, even though victims were able to identify their attackers 95 percent of the time, reports the Belleville, Il.,News-Democrat. While national attention has focused on rape on college campuses and in the military, a review of more than 1,000 police reports and 15,000 pages of court records showed that failure to bring sex crime suspects to court has been widespread throughout Southern Illinois.

The investigation found that of 6,744 felony sex crimes reported to police across the region, 70 percent, or 4,721 cases, never made it to a courtroom. The overall chance that a felony sex crime suspect would go to prison was one in 10. When suspects were prosecuted, the conviction rates ranged from 55 to 85 percent. The public doesn't know about these statistics because no federal or state agency publishes data comparing sex crimes reported to local police to the number that ended up in court in the 32-county region, home to 1.2 million people. “These numbers point to a surprising and serious situation that needs to be discussed,” said St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly, whose office prosecuted just 18 percent of felony sex crimes reported to police from 2005. Kelly took office in 2010.

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