Illinois appellate court upholds initial Dennis Hastert, Richard Doe case dismissal

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 McLaren wrote in the opinion that was filed Friday that the statute of limitations applied 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 [Hastert] has a vested right to invoke the applicable statute as a defense to [Doe’s] claims. ‘This is no less true where the tort alleged, as here, is particularly loathsome,’ ” McLaren 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. Hastert taught at Yorkville High School and coached wrestling between 1965 and 1981.

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 Doe with a crime and accused him of slandering Hastert when he went to his office in the 1980s. Ingemunson has said he never met with Doe.

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

“Nothing prevented [Doe] from filing a complaint within the limitations period, between the ages of 18 to 20,” McLaren wrote.

It is unclear whether Doe’s counsel will take the case to the Illinois Supreme Court. Kristi Browne, Doe’s lawyer, was not immediately available for comment Monday.

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

Pilmer also is 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. James Doe is suing Hastert for $1.8 million, plus interest from December 2014 to the date of payment, in the 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.