In re Marriage of Donald B.Annotate this Case
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, 750 ILCS 5/607(e), prohibits a non-custodial parent who has been convicted of a sexual offense perpetrated on a victim less than 18 years of age from obtaining court-ordered visitation with his children while serving his sentence and until successfully completing “a treatment program approved by the court.” A child abuse report was made to a hot line, alleging that Donald had sexually abused an unrelated minor. Donald pled guilty and was sentenced to two years’ probation. Donald was required to register as a sex offender, to provide a DNA sample, and to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, but not required to obtain sex offender treatment. A court subsequently granted Donald’s ex-wife sole custody of their children suspended Donald’s visitation pursuant to section 607(e) Donald argued that a parent’s right to visitation with his child is a fundamental right, which the state may not abridge unless there is a compelling state interest and a finding that denying visitation is in the child’s best interest. The court agreed and found the law unconstitutional. The Illinois Supreme Court vacated, finding the matter moot. Donald successfully completed his probation. His cooperative participation in the sex offender evaluation, plus the evaluator’s assessment and recommendation that no further treatment was necessary, were sufficient to show compliance with section 607(e)’s requirement that he “successfully complete a treatment program approved by the court.” The court declined to apply the “public interest" exception.