SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — Four months after a Target 3 investigation revealed how a convicted child sex offender managed to evade background checks and land a job working near small children at the Illinois State Fair, bipartisan support is building around a plan to make that illegal.
Illinois law already bans convicted child sex offenders from working at county fairs, but makes no specific mention of the Illinois State Fair or DuQuoin State Fair. A proposal filed in the Senate would expand that prohibition. That means the convict, who was fresh out of prison after serving his sentence, was not technically breaking state law by appearing on the fairgrounds and working at a children’s carnival ride.
State senator Doris Turner (D-Springfield) filed the legislation, which included similar language to a plan Republican state senator Steve McClure (R-Springfield) had also sponsored last fall. Turner credited the Department of Agriculture for taking action to cancel the contract with the carnival vendor and the police for escorting the convict off the fairgrounds.
“Oftentimes, in our lives, we never understand that there is a significant problem until something happens, and then we have to kind of work backwards on it,” Turner said. “So I think that when it came to light, they did a really good job of working backwards on it. And then and I feel like that I’m doing a good job of closing the loopholes, so we don’t have to worry about it again.”
The Senate Criminal Law committee was scheduled to hear debate on the proposal on Tuesday afternoon, but the hearing was postponed.