Editor's Note: The following information was provided by the Illinois Senate Republican staff.
Just in time for a new school year, Gov. Pat Quinn signed school safety legislation sponsored by State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale).
Introduced at the recommendation of DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin, House Bill 5265 (P.A. 97-0998) allows for the felony prosecution of people who attempt to lure older children into their vehicle while the child is traveling to or from school.
Dillard said that the new law was co-sponsored by his colleague Sen. John Millner (R-Carol Stream), who previously served as the Elmhurst police chief. The bill was introduced in response to a case in DuPage County, where a 17 year-old was on her way to school and was approached by a sex offender who tried to lure her into his van. Though the van was stopped by police, law enforcement officials could only charge the individual with disorderly conduct because the state’s current child luring law only applies to minors who are younger than 16.
“Obviously there are 16 and 17 year-olds who are juniors and seniors in high school and they are children, and they need to be protected, too,” Dillard said. “This legislation ensures that an individual who is caught preying on children walking to school will be punished accordingly.”
The new law will prohibit an individual from intentionally luring or attempting to lure a child who is younger than 17 into a motor vehicle, building, house trailer or dwelling, without a parent or guardian’s permission. The law also specifies that it is illegal to lure or attempt to lure a child age 17 and younger while the child is traveling to or from a primary or secondary school.
A long-time advocate for school safety, Dillard also was the sponsor of the state’s landmark school safety package, The Safe to Learn Act, which was an initiative of former Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan.