FOX LAKE – An upcoming public forum will help victims of crimes understand their rights when they step foot into a courtroom.
Hosted by Mothers On a Mission to Stop Violence, or MOMSV, the free event also will discuss changes to the state’s Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights.
The forum will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Grant Community High School in the auditorium, 285 E. Grand Ave., in Fox Lake.
McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi and state Sen. Pam Althoff, R-McHenry, are scheduled to attend, as is the state’s attorney in Lake County and deputy police chief in Round Lake. There will be question-and-answer opportunities.
MOMSV was started by Denise Rotheimer after her 11-year-old daughter was raped. Rotheimer is dedicated to ensuring that no other crime victims are “blindsided” like she was in seeing her daughter’s rapist prosecuted in Lake County.
“We went through the entire process completely unaware … of how the legal system works,” she said. “It was a rude awakening.”
The man was convicted in 2003 and sentenced to 7½ years in prison, Rotheimer said.
The panelists also will talk about recent changes under the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights. “Marsy’s Law,” named and modeled after California legislation for crime victims, was passed by Illinois voters in a constitutional amendment in 2014, and its implementation sailed through both houses. It’s currently awaiting Gov. Bruce Rauner’s signature.
Marsy’s Law ensures that victims receive necessary information about court proceedings, including hearings and plea negotiations. It would ensure access to information about seeking restitution and staying safe around alleged perpetrators.
Rotheimer opposed the amendment, saying it stripped crime victims of legal representation and certain rights in the appellate process.
For information on the upcoming forum, call Rotheimer at 847-406-8566.
• The Associated Press contributed to this report.