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Some Lawmakers Consider Eliminating Illinois Sex Crime Statute Of Limitations

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Some Illinois politicians are making a push to eliminate time limits on when people can be prosecuted for child sex crimes.

The move was prompted by the case of former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert.   

Although he pleaded guilty to violating federal banking laws, Hastert's 15-month sentence took into account his admission that he sexually abused teenage boys when he was a high school wrestling coach.

The judge expressed frustration that Hastert couldn’t be prosecuted for those sex crimes.   State Sen. Scott Bennett, a Democrat from Champaign, is heading a Senate committee looking at eliminating that statute of limitations.

“There’s a lot of reasons why a victim may not feel comfortable coming forward about what has happened to them," he said.  

Survivors have 20 years after their 18th birthday to come forward, but advocates say even that's not long enough.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.