Parents in the Rockford area owe tens of thousands of dollars in child support they refuse to pay. It's a problem even seen statewide.
Winnebago County's top prosecutor joins forces with the state, saying enough is enough and it's time to pay up.
"I think it's a serious problem in all communities and Winnebago is no exception," said Winnebago County State's Attorney Joe Bruscato.
Failure to pay child support is so serious in fact that Bruscato says criminal charges are the only option for the worst offenders. Three men in our area are the first two find out Bruscato means business.
"These types of prosecutions quite frankly are rare. These are the only ones that are going on in Winnebago. And there are few going on across the state" said Bruscato.
Bruscato says one man hasn't pain his child support in more than a year, while another owes more than $28,000. He and the Illinois State's Attorney's Office teamed up to bring criminal charges against the men, and hope to set an example with them.
"We feel it is worthwhile to proceed with criminal prosecutions, plus we have a very clearly defined goals that we want to achieve. And that is to get the compliance, get the payment, get this person to stop failing to pay going forward and also as every prosecutor is responsible for doing, deterring or warning the public in the future," said Bruscato.
Bruscato didn't say how many people in the area are failing to pay child support., But he does expect more indictments to come. It's not an easy process, however, because he needs to prove not only that a parent owes a certain amount of money but that he or she has the ability to pay and doesn't.
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