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CARING + SHARING | Hero Mom to Know

STEPHANIE’S LAW TINA ESTOPARE, NAPERVILLE/PLAINFIELD Do NOT ever think it will NOT happen to your family or someone you know. These are the strong words of advice from Tina Estopare after her 15 year-old daughter Stephanie was sexually assaulted by the neighbor who lived directly behind them in Plainfield, IL; a 30 year-old father of 3.

He was charged and convicted of two counts of Misdemeanor Battery. Stephanie testified in her two day trial and he was found GUILTY of both counts. The Estopare family asked the Judge to register him on the Sex Offender Registry and they were told he could NOT because in the State of Illinois, Battery is NOT considered a sex offense. “Illinois law provides that any person who is found guilty of a sex offense must register as a sex offender pursuant to the sex offender registration act.....except for Misdemeanor Battery, even when found guilty in a court of law with proof without a reasonable doubt,” Tina says.

“So now no one will know what he did. He is allowed to work at any public school, coach, go on field trips, work at Park Districts, YMCA'S, Daycare Centers, Bus Driver, etc. because he bypasses the background check of NOT being on the registry.”

The incident has totally changed the Estopare’s life and they have since moved out of state because it was too difficult to be living behind the perpetrator. Tina is leading the efforts to have “Stephanie’s Law” entered into the legal system. “There is a loophole in our judiciary system that needs to be addressed and closed,” she says. “Stephanie's Law–HB816, mission is to protect and enhance the life of every child who has the courage to battle sexual abuse.”

Her daughter, Stephanie finds solace knowing her hero mom is taking care of passing the bill so she can focus on college and a career in Nursing. -Kristen Kucharski

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