Batinick Files “Stephanie’s Law” to Close Sex Offender Loophole

Springfield, IL – State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) has teamed up with Will, Kendall and DuPage County State’s Attorneys James Glasgow, Eric Weis and Robert Berlin to strengthen the state’s Sex Offender Registry. House Bill 2548, also known as “Stephanie’s Law,” enhances the discretionary authority of judges to require that offenders convicted of battery be added to the registry of sex offenders if the crime is found to be sexually motivated.  

“As a father, I feel it’s imperative that we do everything we can to protect all citizens from sexual predators. Stephanie’s Law would close a loophole in the current statute and give our judges additional discretion in placing those who commit sexually motivated batteries on the Sex Offender Registry,” said Batinick.   

Stephanie’s Law would amend the Sex Offender Registry Statute allowing a judge to order a criminal defendant to register as a sex offender for a 10-year period if the offender’s intent was to commit the crime for purposes of sexual gratification. Prosecutors would be required to offer proof of this motivation at trial. In the event that a conviction is found, the judge would have the full discretion to add the convicted criminal to the registry. “When something like this affects your daughter, you do everything in your power to change it. Amending this law has become my personal mission and I am thrilled to see that my hard work is paying off,” said Tina Estopare, mother of a battered victim. “Protecting our children from sexual predators must be a priority to all of us. I am so thankful to have the support of our community lawmakers and overwhelmed to see that it is finally coming to fruition as an official piece of legislation.”  

Will County State’s Attorney Glasgow said: “It is critical that we close gaps in our statutes to protect women and children from sexual predators and to inform our citizens that a sexual offender lives in their vicinity. This amendment will give prosecutors and judges an additional tool to keep people safe. I am pleased to work with State’s Attorneys Berlin and Weis as well as with Tina Estopare, who has labored tirelessly to raise awareness of this proposed amendment.”    

Kendall County State’s Attorney Weis: “This legislation will give the justice system the ability to protect the community from dangerous sexual offenders who commit crimes with the purpose of sexual gratification.  These offenders can pose a serious risk to the community.  Requiring offenders to register is just one more safeguard to prevent others from becoming future victims.”  

DuPage State’s Attorney Robert Berlin: “I am proud to join my colleagues, State’s Attorneys Glasgow and Weis, as we continue to seek new ways to strengthen our mission of protecting the public. This new legislation will provide us with yet another tool in our chest to hold those found guilty of sexually motivated crimes accountable for their actions.”   The current misdemeanor battery statute does not include a provision for a sexually motivated battery. As a result, the battery case involving Tina Estopare’s family member did not provide an option to place the defendant on the Sex Offender Registry. With the passage of Stephanie’s Law, the loophole will be closed, and the Sex Offender Registry will provide more accessible information to parents, police and school administrators as to the whereabouts of sexual predators.  

“I commend Tina for her tireless and valiant efforts to see that this law be corrected so that we can afford better protection and safety to our citizens,” said Batinick. “My daughter graduated with the young woman who was victimized and I will make it my responsibility to help Tina champion this important legislation so that we can implement the proper safeguards and prevent anyone from having to experience the pain that Tina’s family member went through.”     

Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) will act as Chief Sponsor of this legislation in the Senate.

Residents are asked to contact Rep. Batinick’s office regarding questions or concerns relating to this initiative   at Batinick@ilhousegop.orgor contact his office at 815.254.0000