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People v. Maness
Illinois Supreme Court
191 Ill. 2d 478, 247 Ill. Dec. 490, 732 N.E.2d 545 (2000)
Lynlee Otten, a 13-year-old girl, dated and engaged in consensual sexual intercourse with Leonard Owens, a 17-year-old boy. Otten told her mother, Kathy Maness (defendant), about her sexual relationship with Owens. Maness confronted both Otten and Owens and expressed her disapproval of their sexual relationship. However, unable to stop Otten and Owens from engaging in sexual intercourse, Maness obtained birth control for Otten and allowed Owens to sleep over at Maness’s house with Otten. Maness believed Otten was safer engaging in sexual intercourse with Owens in Maness’s home rather than somewhere else outside of Maness’s control. Owens was charged with, and pleaded guilty to, criminal sexual abuse of a minor. The State of Illinois (plaintiff) charged Maness for permitting the sexual abuse of a child, arguing that Maness failed to take reasonable steps to prevent Owens from sexually abusing Otten. Maness moved to dismiss the charge, arguing that Illinois’s criminal statute was unconstitutionally vague because it did not define what reasonable steps a parent must take to prevent the sexual abuse of a minor child. After a hearing, the circuit court dismissed the charge against Maness, holding that the criminal statute was unconstitutionally vague. Illinois appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Bilandic, J.)
Dissent (Harrison, C.J.)
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