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United States

Dennis Hastert ‘adamantly denies’ child sex assault allegation made in latest lawsuit

He has previously admitted to the abuse of some minors decades ago when he was a Yorkville High School teacher

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 September, 2017, 4:11pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 September, 2017, 11:15pm

Former US House Speaker Dennis Hastert “adamantly denies” a child sexual assault allegation lodged against him in the latest lawsuit filed since his federal indictment.

In a legal motion this week, Hastert’s lawyer asked a Kendall County judge to dismiss the lawsuit, citing a statute of limitations against bringing such an old claim.

And although Hastert has admitted to the sexual abuse of some minors decades ago when he was a Yorkville High School teacher and coach, he denied the claim made in a lawsuit filed in May.

The suit, which is unrelated to the federal indictment, alleged Hastert sodomised a fourth-grader in a bathroom stall in Yorkville in the early 1970s.

In his motion, Hastert’s lawyer John Ellis argued the law barred the accuser from filing the suit more than two years after the accuser turned 18. That was more than 30 years ago.

“Allowing this case to proceed would require the court to ignore 100 years of Illinois Supreme Court precedent,” Ellis said.

“[The accuser] waited more than 30 years after his claim lapsed to file a complaint, and black letter law requires its dismissal.”

The case is due back in court in late October.

Hastert, 75, returned to Illinois in mid-July after his release from a federal prison in Rochester, Minnesota, where he served part of a 15-month sentence.

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He is now serving a mandatory two years of supervised release.

Hastert pleaded guilty in 2015 to illegally structuring bank withdrawals he used to buy the silence of a former student-wrestler he sexually abused in the 1970s – before entering politics when he taught at Yorkville.

The former student, identified as Individual A in the explosive 2015 federal indictment, sued Hastert last year, accusing him of breach of contract for not paying him the full and agreed US$3.5 million.

Hastert had paid him about half when the Federal Bureau of Investigation got involved. That suit is still pending.

The second accuser, whose decades-old allegations are at issue in Ellis’ recent motion to dismiss, was not part of the federal case.

The man, referred to in the lawsuit as Richard Doe, is seeking more than US$50,000 in damages from Hastert and Yorkville Community Unit School District 115.

According to his lawsuit, during the spring or summer of 1973 or 1974, he was sexually assaulted after he stopped by the Game Farm Building, now the Yorkville High School car park, to use the bathroom after riding his bike. He was 9 or 10 at the time, in fourth grade, the lawsuit said.

The man who filed the second lawsuit said he saw his attacker’s face during the incident but did not know who he was at the time. He alleges in his lawsuit it was Hastert.

The accuser said he reported the incident about a decade later, but Kendall County authorities protected Hastert – then a rising political powerhouse – rather than investigate the allegations.

The man’s claims do not fit a pattern described by the government’s Individual A or other student wrestlers who have come forward as part of the federal case with allegations that Hastert fondled them decades ago, usually during post-workout sessions in the school.

Hastert has never faced sex-related charges. Federal prosecutors said the statute of limitations for criminal charges on those allegations had long expired.

He instead admitted to committing a financial crime — withdrawing more than US$950,000 from banks in a way that would avoid detection in an effort to silence Individual A.