Willis Backing Bill to Keep Parks Safe from Dangerous Predators
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Addison, is backing legislation that would provide greater protections to local park districts from dangerous child predators by prohibiting districts from knowingly using volunteers with a history of committing sexual abuse against children.
“This measure is a common sense step in making sure that our children are protected,” said Willis. “When children visit the park, we need to make sure they are in a safe place where they can have fun with their friends.”
House Bill 786 is a measure that would forbid local park districts from utilizing the services of volunteers when the district knows the person is a child sex offender. Currently, the law requires the same action for people employed with a park district. The new law would extend the same rules to volunteers. Volunteers at a park district would be required to fill out an application and disclose if they are a child sex offender. Failure to disclose this information would be considered a Class A misdemeanor, and a Class 4 felony for a second or subsequent violation. If a person lies about their status, they could face up to a week in jail.
“Our children deserve a safe place to have fun,” said Willis. “This bill will help to give children a place to play and peace of mind to parents.”
Willis is serving her third term in the Illinois General Assembly as State Representative of the 77th District, which includes O’Hare Airport and portions of Addison, Bellwood, Bensenville, Franklin Park, Maywood, Melrose Park, Northlake, Stone Park, and Wood Dale.