Disgraced former House Speaker Dennis Hastert scored a victory in Kendall County Circuit Court Monday, as a judge threw out a lawsuit filed by a man who claimed Hastert sexually abused him when he was a child, in approximately 1973 or 74.
The case was one of two Hastert has faced since leaving prison last summer. He is still named in a civil suit brought by his original accuser, “James Doe,” who is demanding the balance of $3.5 million he says Hastert promised him to guarantee his silence. It was that accuser who revealed Hastert’s secret past, leading to the once-powerful House Speaker’s political downfall.
In the case dismissed Monday, an accuser identified in court documents only as “Richard Doe,” claimed Hastert molested him at Kendall County’s old Game Farm when Doe was nine or ten years old. But Judge Robert Pilmer ruled Monday that the statute of limitations had long since expired on any such allegation.
“This individual Richard Doe, when he turned 18, was not aware of his claims at the time,” Doe’s attorney Kristi Browne said after court. “Shortly after he turned 18, within that first two years, he approached the prosecutor in Kendall County, Mr. Ingemunson, tried to report the claim or crime, and Mr. Ingemunson made misrepresentations to him which discouraged him from filing that claim.”
Browne said that Ingemunson told Doe that if he filed a complaint, he would be prosecuted or sued. Ingemunson has previously told NBC 5 he has no recollection of any such conversation.
“I’ve never met him,” Ingemunson said. “He’s never been in my office.”
The former State’s Attorney said he had confirmed that a former assistant in the office, Jean Fletcher, did recall meeting the man, but “I never knew what it was.”
Browne says she is weighing all options for her client, including an appeal or a motion for the judge to reconsider his ruling. That matter is set for Feb. 23.
“We have named the Yorkville school district, not as a defendant, but as a respondent for discovery purposes, and we believe we should be allowed to go forward with that discovery to investigate the possibility of bringing additional claims against additional defendants,” Browne said in a statement. “Illinois has joined 36 other states and the federal government in eliminating the statute of limitations for claims of childhood sexual abuse, which will allow much greater latitude for victims of such abuse to come forward, a process that can take years and even decades to be able to discuss and appreciate what happened.”
“That change, however, only applies to claims that were not already barred by prior law at the time this change was made effective, January 1, 2014,” she added “It was an important and necessary change that unfortunately came too late for victims like Richard Doe.”