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New law won't let sex offenders escape justice

Grayslake lawmaker sponsored bill

Published: Saturday, July 26, 2014 5:30 a.m. CST

GRAYSLAKE – Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, said recently that she appreciated the governor for signing into law a measure that allows law enforcement to take an escaped sexually violent person into custody, even if that person has fled out of state. 

“No criminal should be able to escape our state because of a technicality,” Bush said in a news release.

But that is almost what happened last November when a sexually violent person in Urbana cut off his ankle monitor and escaped civil custody, the release said. When he was found in St. Louis, he was waiting on a train, ticket in hand, to travel to Albuquerque, N.M.

Police quickly worked to get a warrant for his capture, only to discover that the order that they were given did not allow them to apprehend the individual, since he was no longer in Illinois, according to the release.

Police officers' hands were tied, and it was only when they found out that the man had stolen state property before fleeing that they were able to issue an appropriate warrant and take him into custody.

The new law, sponsored by Bush, fixes this loophole and allows law enforcement to cross state lines to apprehend a conditionally released sexually violent person who has fled the state.

“We need to give law enforcement officials the necessary authority to take these people into custody,” Bush said.

The new law takes effect Jan. 1.

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