Hastert Case Prompts Push for Change in Child Sex Abuse Laws

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KMOX) – The sex abuse case surrounding former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois is prompting a push for change in the state’s child sexual abuse laws.

The push comes after the case surrounding former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert — he’s accused of having relations with several boys when he was a high school wrestling coach in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Currently, cases against such predators must be reported and prosecuted within 20 years of the victim’s 18th birthday. Scott Cross, one of Hastert’s victims, says the current statute of limitations isn’t long enough.

Cross is the brother of former Illinois House Minority Leader Tom Cross.

“I understand that the average an individual is willing to come forward is roughly 42-years-of-age. Our current state stops at age 38,” Cross says. “It is unbelievably hard to step forward and confront a person of power and trust and somebody that you idolized and respected.”

But Attorney General Lisa Madigan says Hastert’s case shows the need to lift that statute.

“The children who suffer from Hastert’s abuse and so many others, they need their entire life to recover,” Madigan says. “They need time to process their assault and come forward to report the crime.”

Madigan adds laws should not let perpetrators benefit from the suffering they inflict on children.

More than 90 percent of sexual abuse cases are committed by an adult the child knows, making it harder to report the crime according to Madigan.

(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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