William Peacock, Esq.
Kudos to the attentive McDonald’s manager. Thirty-six-year-old Joseph O’Brien was arrested for the twenty-fourth time shortly before Christmas after the manager called to report a loitering adult in the children’s PlayPlace. According to CBS Chicago, other patrons reported that O’Brien had been staring at an 11-year-old girl before being asked to leave. He had also been asked to leave on multiple occasions by management.
After a brief investigation, officers learned of O’Brien’s extensive criminal record and sex offender registration as a “predator.” They also learned that he was staying at a motel near the McDonald’s – not at the address he had on file. For the “clerical” slip-up, he’ll face a Class 3 felony charge for failing to update his registration. He has also been charged with criminal trespassing.
On a related note, multiple new laws related to sex offenders or offenses take effect in 2013, including a restriction on holiday celebrations.
- SB3579 makes it a crime for a registered sex offender to dress up in holiday costumes, such as a Santa Claus costume, or to hand out candy on Halloween. There are exceptions in the law for celebrating with one’s own children or for certain types of sex offenders (such as statutory rapists).
- HB5265 redefines prohibitions on luring children into cars to include protections for 17-year-olds. Previously, the law’s protections stopped at 16.
- HB5280 increases penalties for repeat convictions of crimes of sexual predation. Those convicted of a crime that requires registration as a predator for a second time or more will be charged with a Class X felony, which means a mandatory prison term with a minimum of six to thirty years. In addition, luring a child into a vehicle becomes a sexual predation offense.
- HB 5278 allows cases to be brought against sex and labor traffickers for at least one year after the victim turns eighteen, or for three years after the crime. This increase in the statute of limitations will hopefully allow those who were trafficked as minors to come forward after reaching the age of majority. The law will also classify sex traffickers as sex offenders and require registration.
The new laws mean that for at least one group, repeat sex offenders, 2013 is almost certainly going to be worse than 2012. Happy New Year indeed.
- Speak to a Chicago Criminal Law Attorney (FindLaw)
- Sex Offender Arrested in Restaurant’s Children’s Play Area (Cook County Sheriff’s Office)
- New Sex Offender, Child Luring Laws to Take Effect Jan. 1 (Crystal Lake-Cary Patch)
- Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just a Sex Offender Here to Tidy Up (FindLaw’s Chicago Criminal Law Blog)