Illinois Attorney Looking to Close Child Loophole

A Chicago attorney is asking Illinois legislators to do more to protect the children of rape victims.  Chris Slaby reports on a loophole in state law.

Shauna Prewitt is an attorney now.  But when she was a senior in college, she was raped and became pregnant.

She decided to keep the child, a daughter. And then she became a victim of a different stripe…

PREWITT: “when seven years ago I had to fight my rapist for custody of my daughter.”

Prewitt’s now advocating for what she calls a “small but important change.”

PREWITT: “In Illinois law currently, a woman who is raped can have the visitation and custody priveleges of her attacker restricted.  But only if she has a criminal rape conviction against that attacker.”

She says less than five-percent of all rapes end with a conviction, leaving victims like her without protection.

Prewitt’s pressing legislators to lower that standard, so “clear and convincing” evidence of a rape would be enough to restrict an attacker’s parental rights.

She says that’s still a substantial hurdle for a woman to prove, and it’s already the standard for other custody cases, like those involving abuse and neglect.

Upon hearing Prewitt’s testimony, a House committee approved the proposal.

—Chris Slaby

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One Response to Illinois Attorney Looking to Close Child Loophole

  1. Michael Steane says:

    Beyond reasonable doubt is the only acceptable level of evidence.

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