State Sen. John Curran (R-Downers Grove), Member of the Senate Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention, attended the first meeting in Chicago on Dec. 14.
As a former Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney of 19 years, Curran plans to utilize his experience in prosecution for misdemeanors and felonies to strengthen the laws against sexual discrimination and harassment, and establish criminal charges for related crimes.
“This task force has a real opportunity to improve our legal system and the way sexual harassment, discrimination and assault crimes are handled and charged,” said Curran.
Cook County Assistant State’s Attorneys from the Sex Crimes and Domestic Violence Unit began the discussion by reviewing the current sexual harassment and discrimination law in place, defined sexual harassment, and then explained what types of sexual harassment can be charged as a criminal violation and prosecuted.
The next speakers, the Illinois Department of Human Rights Acting Director and Deputy Director, then discussed the department’s administrative process and standard investigations for reports filed on sexual harassment or discrimination—largely focusing on the workplace, but also residences, public facilities and financial credit institutions.
Three private attorneys presented the final portion of the meeting, which was an overview of the civil procedures and remedies for cases of sexual harassment and discrimination that are considered to be a civil legal violation.
Curran serves alongside 23 members of the bipartisan task force of State Senators, members of women’s rights and civil rights associations, and local government officials and private attorneys. The task force has a deadline of Dec. 31, 2018, to submit a report of its recommendations to combat sexual harassment and discrimination in Illinois, including proposed legislation and administrative rule changes.