The Will County State’s Attorney and a state lawmaker are working to close a gap in Illinois law that does not require people convicted of secretly video recording minors to be on the sex offender registry.

Last year, Ryan M. Thompson, 29, of Joliet, pleaded guilty to taking videos that captured minors changing their clothes for gym class while he worked as a janitor at Chaney-Monge School in Crest Hill.

Even though prosecutors said Thompson took the videos for “sexual gratification” and a psycho-sexual evaluation showed he had an above average risk of committing similar offenses in the future, he was not required to register as a sex offender.

Thompson was convicted of unauthorized video recording of minors, an offense that does not require him to be on the sex offender registry.

Judge Dave Carlson, who sentenced Thompson to probation, was frustrated he would not have to register.

“I think it’s absolutely crazy. … Unless people really, really look for it, they won’t know what you did,” Carlson said at a May 2018 court hearing.

Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow and his staff is drafting legislation that would require people to be placed on the sex offender registry if they are convicted of video recording minors in certain circumstances, state’s attorney spokeswoman Carole Cheney said.

“On the proposed legislation, when the issue regarding sex offender status was brought to the state’s attorney’s attention, he concluded that there is a gap in Illinois law,” Cheney said.

State Rep. John Connor, D-Lockport, a former Will County assistant state’s attorney, said he’s spoken with Glasgow about revising the law so the crime would be added to the list of offenses that require sex offender registration.

Connor said if a someone wanted to find out if a person like Thompson poses a threat to children, they would have to search for news stories about them online when they could find out about them more easily through the sex offender registry.

“Often times, they’re like submarines,” Connor said of child sex offenders. “The biggest danger is you don’t know who they are or where they are until they have a charge that puts them on the registry.”

Another case similar to Thompson occurred this year.

In August, Richard K. Buss, 36, of Channahon, pleaded guilty to video recording a minor while she was in the bathroom of his home.

Buss has yet to be sentenced, but as with Thompson, he would be eligible for probation and would not be required register as a sex offender.

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Feeds,City: Joliet,Region: Joliet,Region: South Suburbs,Opinion


October 9, 2019 at 05:02PM