A 17-year-old teen in Evanston, Illinois will be charged with misdemeanor criminal sexual abuse instead of a felony for the reason that the 14-year-old victim gave the police inconsistent information. Seemingly, the sex was “not forced,” as she initially claimed, but “partly consensual.” Huh?!
According to the Chicago Tribune, the victim initially told the cops that the 17-year-old forced her to have sex with him in a bathroom at their school. However, the Tribune reports that a press release, issued by the police, mentioned “certain inconsistencies” in the victim’s initial statement. “When questioned about those inconsistencies, the victim allegedly recanted some of her original statement, indicating the incident was partly consensual,” the statement said.
“Partly consensual” indicates that part of the sex wasn’t consensual. Shouldn’t that part be a problem?
The police department’s press release is still unavailable on the City of Evanston’s website. Therefore, it’s difficult to distinguish whether this strange wording is theirs or the Tribune’s. Illinois law defines sexual assault as rape. Criminal sexual abuse is any unwanted sexual contact other than penetration, or – as Illinois law puts it – “commit[ting] an act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct with a victim who was at least 13 years of age but under 17 years of age and the accused was less than 5 years older than the victim,” which seems to be the case here.
Regardless, let’s hope that the young woman isn’t retracting her statement due to peer pressure or fear. It is important to remember that there’s a three-year age difference at play here. In addition, let’s hope that if she does revert to her initial testimony, she doesn’t go to jail for it. According to the Guardian, such was the case with a 28-year-old British woman, who was jailed for falsely recanting rape allegations against her husband which she later admitted were true.