Dennis Hastert Case Renews Debate over Sex Crime Statute of Limitations


(WASHINGTON) — The nationwide debate over statutes of limitations on child sex crimes has been reignited in the wake of a plea deal that could give former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert little to no jail time for a fraud charge linked to alleged decades-old sexual abuse of minors.

Hastert, 73, allegedly abused more than one student while he was a coach at Illinois’ Yorkville High School in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but was only brought to trial for a financial crime after attempting to hide recent hush money payments to one of his alleged victims. The maximum penalty for the financial crime for which Hastert was convicted is five years, but the plea deal includes a recommendation that he receive at most six months in prison. Hastert has declined to comment on the abuse allegations.

Jolene Burdge, the sister of one of Hastert’s alleged victims not involved in the hush money payments, told ABC News after the deal was filed Wednesday that she felt Hastert “got a pass.”

“I think he got a pass because of his power and status. I think he got a back room deal. His victims didn’t get a pass when he put them through the abuse,” she said.

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