New law makes cyberstalking a hate crime

New law makes cyberstalking a hate crime.

A new law now recognizes cyberstalking as a hate crime.

House bills 3711 and 3251 went into effect in early January.

It was put in place largely due to the increase in technology use, especially when technology is used to intimidate or cyberstalk.

The Sangamon County State's Attorney said these crimes can have an impact on their victims as well as an entire community.

"What we've seen with hate crimes is it is not only that specific victim but an entire community. An entire group of people can be affected by these crimes and it will not be tolerated in this community," Sangamon County State's Attorney John Milhiser said.

The law protects victims from intimidation, stalking, cyber-stalking as well as protection from any obscene messages being sent.

Milhiser also said, "If that is done because of a victim's perceived race or actual race, sexual orientation, physical disability and there's a whole host of factors that the statute lays out. That can also be a hate crime in addition to the underlying offense."

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