Bassam Za'za', Legal and Court Correspondent
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, already serving federal prison time for charges relating to his sexual abuse of children decades ago, is facing a new lawsuit alleging he raped a boy aged 9 or 10 in the early 1970s.
The suit was filed Friday in county court in Yorkville, Illinois, by a man who claims he was raped by Hastert while using a bathroom in a state building in 1973 or 1974.
The man, identified by the pseudonym "Richard Doe," asserts that he was riding his bike and stopped to use the restroom when Hastert barged in and sodomized him. The plaintiff claims he didn't immediately recognize the assailant but later realized that it was Hastert, then a teacher and coach at Yorkville High School.
Doe claims that he spotted Hastert a few weeks later while in a grade-school gym class.
Doe "observed a large man enter and walk diagonally across the gym towards the teacher," the lawsuit states. "At that time, the Plaintiff recognized the man (Hastert) as his attacker. The sight of Hastert caused Plaintiff to begin shaking and crying."
Doe claims Hastert then pulled him into a hallway, asked him whether he'd told anyone what happened, and threatened that his parents would be arrested if he spoke out about the incident. (Doe also claims Hastert said, falsely, that his father was the sheriff.)
A lawyer for Hastert, John Ellis, did not respond to email and telephone messages Saturday seeking reaction to the suit.
Hastert, who served as speaker from 1999 to 2007, pleaded guilty in 2015 to a charge of violating money laundering laws by illegally structuring cash withdrawals used to pay part of $3.5 million in promised hush money to another former student who claimed he was sexually abused by Hastert.
The former speaker never formally admitted to any sexual offense, but he acknowledged at his sentencing in federal court in Chicago last year that he had "mistreated" some of the students he coached. After hearing from one alleged victim and reading details of evidence in the case, the judge who sentenced Hastert to 15 months in prison blasted him as a "serial child molester."
Hastert is currently serving his sentence at a federal prison hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. He's officially slated for release in August but could be moved soon to a halfway house or released early.
Hastert was already facing a civil lawsuit filed by the alleged victim he was paying when the feds interceded. The man claims he's entitled to roughly half of the $3.5 million Hastert never paid. That case was filed by the same attorneys who represent the second man who sued Friday.
The Yorkville school district is not named as a defendant in the new case, but is listed as a "respondent" that may have records or testimony relevant to the suit. A spokeswoman for the school system said it would cooperate with any investigation.
In the new suit, Doe claims he tried to report Hastert's attack in 1984 or 1985 at the office of the local prosecutor, Kendall County State's Attorney Dallas Ingemunson, a close political ally of Hastert. The suit, first reported by the local Kendall County Record newspaper, alleges that Ingemunson brushed aside the effort to report the alleged crime.
"Ingemunson threatened to charge Plaintiff with a crime and accused him of slandering Hastert's name," the suit claims.
Reached Saturday by POLITICO, Ingemunson said no such allegation was ever brought to him.
"It never occurred," the veteran lawyer and GOP political organizer said. "I've never met the guy and never had any discussion with him."
Ingemunson also said he believes it is impossible that any child molestation of that sort would have been reported to his office without him being told of it. "If something like that had been brought to my office, I would know about it," he said.
Yes you would, but would you admit it? I don;'t think so!
Initially scheduled that day for a court conference, Byrnes asked for a delay through his public defender.
"It's a serious case," attorney Tamara Zuromskis said.
Superior Court Judge Linda Sloven then asked when the case should return to court. "I just don't want us to come back to court to just say 'Hello' to each other," the judge quipped.
Zuromskis and Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Hotaling then agreed to delay the case until Aug. 24.
Byrnes, who's already entered a formal plea of not guilty, was accused in March of inappropriately touching a child under 14 years old between 1997 and 2001.
The March accusations aren't the first time Byrnes has faced sexually related charges.
According to court records, Byrnes in 2011 pleaded no contest to continual sexual abuse of a child. He was sentenced to 12 years' probation and received credit for 570 days in jail.
Tristan Stewart-Robertson, Chief Reporter
A VALE man found with vile images of extreme child sexual abuse of girls as young as seven has avoided a jail sentence.
Scott Struthers has been put on a sex offenders register for three years after previously admitting possession of the images as well as a video of an "extreme sex act" at his Braehead home.
His own defence solicitor told Dumbarton Sheriff Court last week there was "very little that can be said" in mitigation.
He previously pleaded guilty to offences and the court was told how an internet-connected device using the IP address registered to Struthers’ home contained indecent images of children available for sharing.
It was reported to the police and on July 12, 2016 officers executed a search warrant after Struthers’ wife allowed them entry to the property.
Struthers was not in at the time, but the search was undertaken and a box was found on the fridge containing a Lenovo laptop and a Toshiba hard drive.The police went to Struthers’ workplace and took him back home, where images of children were found on the hard drive.
The devices contained nine category A child abuse images – the most serious – and a 20-minute video depicting an “extreme sex act” along with a horrifying collection of illegal material.
But he accepted that was no excuse. Mr Wight said: "He accepts responsibility for his actions and that this is not a victimless crime.
"He was in full employment until tendering the plea and then was dismissed from his employment.
"He does take these matters very seriously indeed."
Sheriff William Gallacher said, on balance, he could avoid sending Struthers to jail and instead imposed a three-year supervision order as well as 250 hours of unpaid work to be carried out in the community within 10 months.