Report: Cook County downgrades college sex offenses

December 4, 2011 12:11:45 PM PST
A published report says Cook County prosecutors rarely file felony charges against students accused of sexual violence on college campuses.

The Chicago Tribune analyzed 16 Chicago-area colleges where police investigated 109 reported sex crimes since 2005. Of those, 12 resulted in arrests and five in convictions.

In several cases, what appeared to be felony rape cases, were downgraded to misdemeanors.

Advocates for victims say downgrading sex offenses is insulting to victims.

A spokeswoman for Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez defends the office's handling of the cases and says prosecutors carefully review each case.