Hutchinson’s proposal to address loophole that overlooks police sexual abuse is now law

hutchinson 050918SPRINGFIELD – Law enforcement officers who sexually abuse or rape individuals in custody could face charges under a new law passed by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights).

“The general public should have complete faith that law enforcement officers are held to the same standards as everyone else in our society,” Hutchinson said. “No one person should be immune to consequences for their actions, and our laws should reflect that reality.”

The new law, contained in House Bill 5597, would expand the definition of custodial sexual misconduct to include law enforcement officers who engage in sexual conduct with an individual in police custody. Illinois is one of 34 states that allow police officers to evade sexual assault or rape charges by claiming that sexual activity with someone detained or in custody is consensual.

The legal loophole gained nationwide attention after a highly publicized case in New York in which a woman was raped in Brooklyn by two NYPD officers after being detained and held in custody. While the officers have admitted to sexual activity with the victim, they are attempting to use the defense of consent at trial.

“The potential denial of justice to a rape victim in New York at the hands of a law enforcement officer should give lawmakers across the country the impetus to change our laws and ensure this never happens again,” Hutchinson said.

House Bill 5597 was signed into law on Friday and took effect immediately.

Hutchinson law requires sexual harassment policies at companies doing state business

hutchinson 042718SPRINGFIELD – Companies doing business with the State of Illinois will be required to have a sexual harassment policy protecting workers under a new law signed today and passed by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights).

“The State of Illinois should be a leader in ensuring sexual harassment is not tolerated in our state,” Hutchinson said. “Every year, hundreds of companies team up with the state to provide services to our residents. We need to ensure these individuals performing state work are protected and know sexual harassment is not tolerated in Illinois.”

The new law, contained in Senate Bill 405, requires all companies that make a bid or offer for a state contract have a sexual harassment policy in place. Additionally, the law requires companies that claim EDGE tax credits to include their sexual harassment policy in their annual report to the state.  

Hutchinson’s law comes after increased attention to the issue of sexual harassment in industries from Hollywood to corporate boardrooms to politics. In November, Hutchinson brought increased awareness to the issue in Springfield by passing a resolution urging her colleagues to work together to find solutions to eradicate sexual harassment in Illinois politics.   

“We know there is still much work for us to do,” Hutchinson said. “But we can’t properly address this issue unless we are having conversations about what sexual harassment is and how we can stop it. For anything to change, we must continue these conversations, however uncomfortable they may be, to ensure real change.” 

Senate Bill 405 takes effect on January 1, 2019.

Hutchinson works to bring continued stability to Child Care Assistance Program

hutchinson 042718SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) passed a proposal out of the Senate Thursday afternoon that would increase stability for the thousands of Illinois families who rely on the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).

House Bill 4965 would bring Illinois in line with federal law by moving to a 12-month redetermination process for CCAP families instead of the current system, which redetermines eligibility every six months.

Hutchinson proposal would allow victims of human trafficking to seal court records

hutchinson 051018SPRINGFIELD – Victims of human trafficking would have the ability to seal their criminal records under a proposal advanced this week by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights).

"We know most victims of trafficking are being forced to commit crimes by their trafficker,” Hutchinson said. “Allowing the sealing of criminal records gives survivors more ability to move past their abuse and exploitation and towards recovery and a chance at a normal life.”

House Bill 5494 would create a petition process that would allow trafficking victims to petition for the immediate sealing of criminal records upon completion of their sentence. Currently, only charges that result in an acquittal or dismissal are eligible for immediate sealing. 

In the first six months of 2015, 215 victims of human trafficking in Illinois were reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. While Chicagoland accounts for a majority of these cases, trafficking occurs in small towns and suburban communities across the state.

“When someone is exploited sexually or physically, hope and aspirations vanish and are replaced with fear and pain,” Hutchinson said. “These are survivors who have endured situations we can’t even fathom. Ensuring these victims have the tools available to rebuild their lives is the very least we can offer.”

House Bill 5494 passed the Senate Criminal Law Committee yesterday without opposition and will now head to the Senate floor for further debate.

Sen. Toi W. Hutchinson

40th District

Years served: 
2009 - 2019

Committee assignments: Executive; Judiciary; Public Health; Revenue (Chairperson); Transportation; Subcommittee on Special Issues.

Biography: Full-time state legislator; Born May 20, 1973; Graduated University of Illinois at Urbana with a Bachelor in English; Olympia Fields Village Clerk from 2002-2006; Harvard Kennedy School of Government Executive Management Program; Women and Power, 2004; Former Chief of Staff to State Senator Debbie Halvorson; Lives in Olympia Fields with husband, Paul, and 3 children.

Associated Representatives:
Anthony DeLuca
Lindsay Parkhurst