ALTON • Spurred by cases in which bodies of overdose victims were moved to thwart investigations, Illinois state Rep. Dan Beiser, D-Alton, is sponsoring a bill to make unauthorized movement of a corpse a felony.
It also would criminalize something that even Madison County Coroner Steve Nonn thought was already illegal — having sex with the dead.
Beiser said he introduced the legislation at the request of Madison County State's Attorney Tom Gibbons and other law enforcement officials. Gibbons called the relocation of overdose victims an "impediment to investigation" in several cases.
Prohibiting sex with a dead body corrects an obvious omission in the law, Beiser said.
If the measure passes, sex with a corpse would be a Class 2 felony, with punishment ranging from probation to seven years in prison. Unauthorized removal of a corpse would be a Class 4 felony, with a penalty ranging from probation to three years.
Nonn said bodies of several people who died of drug overdoses in Madison County over the past year or two were taken from where they died. One was abandoned in a cemetery, another left on a road.
"That definitely needed to be addressed," he said.
In recent months, Metro East prosecutors have filed charges of drug-induced homicide against several people who allegedly supplied drugs to people who died of overdoses. Police regard the sites as crime scenes.
Nonn said an existing law against concealment of a homicidal death does not always fit the circumstances of a drug death.
The bill would exempt emergency responders, physicians, medical students, funeral directors and employees of coroners' or medical examiners' offices.
Gibbons said a law prohibiting sex with a corpse is needed out of respect for the dead. He said he has been told there was one such case in the county many years ago that could not be prosecuted for lack of such a law.
Beiser's legislation is House Bill 5122.