An Illinois police officer’s lewd text to a teen girl is not considered to be a crime, according to his boss and the DA’s office. A Police Sergeant and 24-year veteran of the Woodstock, Illinois Police Department was punished with nothing more than a 30-day suspension, after he allegedly send sexually suggestive text messages to a 12-year-old girl.
Charles Amati, who also served as the department spokesperson, is said to have sent a text message to the girl asking her to send him some “sexy pictures” of herself. The girl is the daughter of Amati’s former girlfriend. The alleged communication between the Sergeant and the teen girl has not resulted in any form of punishment; Amati was suspended without pay for misuse of the state police database, the Law Enforcement Agencies Data System, or LEADS. Amati used the system to check into his then-girlfriend’s background. It is a federal offence for law enforcement officers to misuse police databases to run background checks on individuals for personal reasons.
As for the police officer’s alleged lewd text to the girl, soliciting sexually suggestive pictures, the head of the state attorney’s criminal division, Michael Combs, said “It didn’t rise to the level of a crime.” In the course of explaining the decision further, he remarked that “…what’s inappropriate and what’s criminal are different things.”
According to report in The Woodstock Independent, investigations by the Illinois state police have uncovered no other communications between the sergeant and the girl. Amati will face no further action over the incident; he remains the police department’s spokesperson but will no longer retain his oversight of the LEADS database. According to Robert Lowen, the Woodstock police Chief, Amati will be allowed to serve his suspension one day at a time over the course of a year.
The incident was initially reported by the girl’s mother and both parents have expressed anger at the leniency shown Amati. The girl’s father is reported to have remarked “He’s no better than who he’s arrested.” The girl’s mother added that the officer’s punishment disgusts her. The incident has garnered some attention on social media networks; the idea that it is not considered a crime for a police officer to send a text message to a teen girl, requesting she send him “sexy pictures” has stirred some outrage and disbelief.
The alleged texting incident took place in August and Amati’s suspension was handed down by the police and fire board in October. Amati, who is said to have an otherwise spotless record, has made no public statement regarding the issue.
By Graham J Noble