CHICAGO (CBS) — A mother and her daughter have turned an awful experience into an inspiration for others. Thanks to their tireless work, a new law is in place in Illinois, calling for stricter penalties for violent sex offenders.
CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports on their fight for other victims of violent crime.
In 2001, Jasmine Jimenez was raped at the age of 11.
Her mother, Denise Rotheimer – founder of Mothers on a Mission to Stop Violence – said, “Even though Jasmine had a child advocate that I spoke with on the phone, we never met him. He never gave me any information on our rights. Nothing.”
Jasmine could make a victim impact statement, receive counseling and compensation under Illinois law.
“As the mother, I can’t really do anything,” Rotheimer said.
On Jan. 1, “Jasmine’s Law,” signed by Gov. Pat Quinn, went into effect. It doubles the sentence for violent sex offenders who commit an act of sexual violence against minors, when alcohol is involved.
“It’s okay to stand up because that is a sign of your strength and you don’t need to feel shameful for what happened to you,” Jasmine said.
In her quest for justice for Jasmine, Rotheimer spoke to numerous victims of torture under the administration of former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge.
Mark Clements said he was 16 years old when he was tortured into confessing to an arson he never committed.
“I will never in my life … probably ever adjust to the way that I should be,” Clements said.
He spent nearly 30 years behind bars, never knowing he had the right to compensation and counseling.
“I’ve not received one dime as a victim of Jon Burge’s torture crew. There are many that have not received one penny,” Clements said.
After speaking with Clements and other alleged torture victims, Rotheimer is working to sponsor new legislation to enact a “Survivor Rights Act” with the goal of making victims aware of their rights immediately, through responding officers.
“It shouldn’t matter who the offenders are. Justice is the law,” Rotheimer said.
Jasmine, who is now 20, is attending Oxford University, where she’s studying law. Her first goal is to become a legislative attorney and to work to craft laws to make a difference in the lives of others.