STOP SEX OFFENDERS | IL: Illinois Supreme Court weighs juvenile sex offender registry.
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IL: Illinois Supreme Court weighs juvenile sex offender registry.

July 6, 2002

Critics say young criminals should be given chance at rehabilitation.

SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Supreme Court will decide soon whether to require juvenile sex offenders to register publicly with the state.

The photos, addresses and criminal histories of adult sex offenders are placed on an Illinois State Police Web site. Currently, the same information about underage offenders is given to their local police departments but not publicly posted. The Supreme Court is considering a case from Kane County in which a 12-year-old South Elgin boy assaulted two 7-year-old boys. The Supreme Court must decide whether the Juvenile Court's confidentiality requirements should shield the youngster from public registration.

No law prohibits the publication of juvenile sex offenders' information. Of the 14,930 sex offenders registered in the state, 455 are juveniles, according to Illinois State Police records.

Opponents of the registration say publication would violate the spirit of the Juvenile Court, which aims to protect and rehabilitate child offenders so they may start adult life with a clean slate.

Publishing the child's name would amount to adult punishment for a case tried in Juvenile Court, said Steven Drizin, a Northwestern University law professor who has filed a brief in the South Elgin boy's case.

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Source: 2002 Northwest Indiana News: