SPRINGFIELD - At a press conference today in Springfield, Rep. Amy Elik (R-Alton) and Sen. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) urged the Senate to act on House Bill 4241, which unanimously passed the House last month. The bill, which protects high school students age 18 and older from sexual abuse by an educator, currently sits in Assignments in the Senate. Sen. Erica Harriss (R-Glen Carbon) also attended the press conference and is a chief co-sponsor of the bill.

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"We carefully crafted this legislation to anticipate any possible concerns by both the House and Senate," said Rep. Elik. "This bipartisan bill has no vocal opposition and must move forward this session so students have the necessary protections they deserve. Today it is in the Senate's hands to push this across the finish line and deliver that promise."

House Bill 4241 protects students age 18 and older by creating the offense of abuse of power by an educator or authority figure. Any sexual contact by an educator or staff member with a student, even if they are 18 or older, is an abuse of authority. Criminal charges must be levied so that offenders cannot just leave a job and move on to other opportunities where they could prey on children.

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HB 4241 states that abuse by an educator or authority figure involving sexual conduct is a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class 4 felony for a subsequent offense or if there is more than one victim. For acts of sexual penetration, Class 3 and 4 felony charges are applicable.

"Our kids can’t afford to wait any longer for this issue to be addressed," said Sen. Bryant. "With the passage of House Bill 4241, we can tell every individual within our state that suffered this abuse that their lawmakers heard their cries for help and acted."

Rep. Elik also called for the passage of a bill she filed last spring, HB 1275. This bill states that no contributory fault may be attributed to a child sexual abuse victim. Rep. Elik will continue to work with fellow lawmakers to get this bill through the General Assembly.

Stay up to date on news and legislative action in the Illinois House of Representatives by visiting RepElik.com or contact Rep. Amy Elik’s district office in Alton at 618-433-8046.

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