Dennis Hastert received an unwelcome gift for his 76th birthday on Tuesday. The attorney for an accuser who he hoped had gone away returned to court trying to reinstate his case.
That man, identified in court documents only as “Richard Doe,” alleged that in the early seventies, Hastert sexually abused him in a restroom stall at what was then known as the Game Farm Building, on the site of the current Yorkville High School.
In a lawsuit filed last year, Doe said he took his case to authorities in the eighties, but that he was threatened with arrest by then-state’s attorney Dallas Ingemunson, a Hastert friend. Ingemunson has denied ever having even met the man. And two months ago, his lawsuit was thrown out by Kendall County Judge Robert Pilmer, who ruled that the statute of limitations on any potential crimes had long since expired.
But on Tuesday, the man’s attorney, Kristi Browne, was back before Pilmer, arguing that Ingemunson’s alleged interference in the case decades ago essentially stopped the judicial clock, and the case should be allowed to go forward.
“Something essentially came in the way, and prevented our client from pursuing his claim,” she told NBC5. “And that was the conversation with Dallas Ingemunson.”
In legal terms, such an event would be seen as “tolling” the statute of limitations.
“We’re saying that when our client made his complaint to a public official and that public official, we’ve alleged, on behalf of Mr. Hastert essentially made misrepresentations that prevented our client from filing his claim, that should have caused the statute of limitations to toll,” Browne said.
Pilmer gave Hastert’s attorney time to respond. But the case is one of at least two the disgraced former Speaker faces going into the new year.
Still going forward, is the effort by Hastert’s original accuser, identified as James Doe, who is seeking to recover the balance of $3.5 million in hush money he says the former House Speaker promised to pay to keep his secrets.
It was those original allegations which led to Hastert's stunning fall from power. Court documents state that Hastert promised to pay the man $3.5 million to buy his silence, but he says he is still owed at least $1.8 million.
Browne said she is still seeking to question Hastert about the events surrounding those payments. That would come in a series of questions and answers, most likely at a law office. The session has not taken place, but she said she hoped to schedule such a deposition within the next few months.