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Local

Appellate court upholds dismissal of Hastert, Richard Doe lawsuit

Dennis Hastert
Dennis Hastert

ELGIN – Illinois Appellate Court judges ruled in agreement with a Kendall County judge’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit filed by former Yorkville student Richard Doe against former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Illinois 2nd District Appellate Court Judge Robert McClaren wrote in the opinion that was filed Friday, June 21, that the statute of limitations did apply in the lawsuit between Hastert and Doe, who accused Hastert of sexually assaulting him in the early 1970s.

“The legislature’s purposes in enacting statutes of limitations are legitimate, and defendant has a vested right to invoke the applicable statute as a defense to plaintiff’s claims. ‘This is no less true where the tort alleged, as here, is particularly loathsome,’ ” McClaren wrote, referencing a statute of limitations appellate court precedence.

Doe alleged in court documents that he was riding his bike along Game Farm Road in Yorkville and stopped to use the bathroom in the Game Farm Building, where Hastert assaulted him. He then alleged that, after he started to cry after recognizing Hastert during gym class at Yorkville Grade School, Hastert threatened that Doe’s parents would be put in jail if he reported the assault to police.

Doe also alleged that he was discouraged from filing a complaint about the abuse when he went to the Kendall County State’s Attorney’s office in the 1980s, when Doe was about 20 years old. Doe also alleged that then-State’s Attorney Dallas Ingemunson threatened to charge him with a crime and accused him of slandering the defendant when he went to his office in the 1980s. Ingemunson has said he never met with Doe.

Doe said in court documents that Hastert abused and threatened him until he was about 10 years old, “long before before defendant reached the age of 18,” McClaren wrote.

“Nothing prevented plaintiff from filing a complaint within the limitations period, between the ages of 18 to 20,” McClaren wrote.

It is unclear whether Richard Doe’s counsel will take the case to the Illinois Supreme Court. Kristi Browne, Richard Doe’s lawyer, did not immediately return a request for a comment Monday, June 24, from Record Newspapers.

The appellate court ruling comes after Kendall County Chief Judge Robert Pilmer dismissed the Richard Doe lawsuit in November 2017.

Pilmer is also set to make a ruling on another case involving Hastert on July 3.

Another man, called James Doe in court documents, has accused Hastert of sexually abusing him when Hastert was a teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School and allegedly worked out a hush-money agreement with Hastert. Doe is suing Hastert for $1.8 million, plus interest from December 2014 to the date of payment, in a lawsuit that has been in court for more than two years, according to court documents.

Hastert served as a congressman from 1987 to 2007 and was U.S. House Speaker between 1999 and 2007. He taught at Yorkville High School and coached wrestling between 1965 and 1981.

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