SPRINGFIELD — Victims of sexual abuse and assault as minors will no longer have to worry about their abuser walking free due to the statute of limitations under a plan being pushed in the Illinois State Senate.
State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign), who introduced Senate Bill 189, said it would remove the statute of limitations for sex crimes committed against minors.
“Victims of sexual assault and abuse deserve a pledge that justice does not have an expiration date,” Bennett said. “With this legislation, we can deliver a message of hope to victims everywhere by guaranteeing their abusers won’t get away because time ran out.”
In previous hearings Bennett held on this legislation, the Attorney General was joined by one of former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s victims, Scott Cross, who called for a review of the existing laws.
The crimes included in the legislation are criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child and aggravated criminal sexual abuse and criminal sexual abuse.
SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) issued the following statement in response to the Illinois General Assembly Retirement System (GARS) board voting to take away Dennis Hastert’s pension:
“Dennis Hastert used his trusted position as a teacher and coach to prey on his young victims. I am glad that the board voted to ensure he doesn’t receive his taxpayer-subsidized pension.”
SPRINGFIELD— The fight to strip former U.S. House Speaker Dennis J. Hastert of his taxpayer funded pensions was continued today by State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).
“Legislation was filed to strip Hastert of his General Assembly Retirement System pension,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “The taxpayers shouldn’t be paying retirement benefits for a child predator who has abused the public trust.”
Hastert was recently sentenced to 15 months in prison for bank fraud stemming from efforts to cover up child sex abuse dating back to his time as a teacher in Yorkville. He had qualified for pension benefits for his tenure as a teacher, state lawmaker and congressman.
Illinois’ Teachers Retirement System has canceled Hastert’s pension.
However, the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS) has failed to get rid of Hastert’s state lawmaker pension. The agency has suggested reducing it from $28,000 to $9,000, but Bertino-Tarrant says that’s not enough.
“I am going to continue to pursue the removal of Hastert’s GARS pension- any amount is too much,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “He confessed to molesting children. His pensions need to be eliminated. Period.”
Under legislation Bertino-Tarrant has introduced, Senate Bill 442, a member could lose their pension at any time if they commit a felony against a student or other victim.
This plan would allow Hastert’s pension to be revoked.
Last month, Bertino-Tarrant sent a letter to GARS requesting that Hastert’s pension be immediately revoked. The senator also sent a letter to Attorney General Lisa Madigan requesting that she provide a legal argument to the board in support of Hastert no longer receiving a pension.
SPRINGFIELD— A plan that would end deadlines for when someone could be prosecuted for sexual abuse against a minor has been approved by a Senate committee. State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is the chief co-sponsor of the measure.
“There should not be a deadline on when victims can receive justice,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Minors who are sexually abused deserve time to come forward and report the abuse. Children are vulnerable, scared, and often take years to have the courage to confront their abuser.”
PLAINFIELD— In the wake of Scott Cross’ testimony regarding sexual abuse by former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, State. Sen Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Plainfield) is renewing her call for changing state laws so justice can be served.
“Child predators like Hastert shouldn’t get away with sexual abuse just because no one caught them before some arbitrary deadline,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “When we know of an injustice, we should have the opportunity to set things right. We owe it to the victims and we owe it to the taxpayers.”
Bertino-Tarrant is the lead Senate sponsor of HB 1127, which would remove legal deadlines for prosecuting criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse of a child. She’s also been outspoken in calling for state pension officials to rescind the taxpayer-funded pension Hastert receives from his time as an Illinois lawmaker.
“As I sat there and listened to Mr. Cross summon the courage to talk to the committee about his abuse, it was unbelievable to think he was going to get away with it, and there’s nothing we can do about it,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “That’s unacceptable.”
Hastert is currently in prison after pleading guilty to financial fraud. He cannot face charges for the sexual abuse he admitted to because the statute of limitations for those offenses had expired. Following his conviction, the state’s Teachers Retirement System rescinded Hastert’s pension from his teaching days. The state’s General Assembly Retirement System, however, has only moved to reduce his pension.
“The General Assembly Retirement System needs to do the right thing and end Hastert’s pension,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Families throughout my district work hard, and their taxes should not be paying for a child predator’s retirement.”
The senator sent a letter requesting Hastert’s pension be immediately revoked. She also has filed legislation that would have allowed for Hastert’s General Assembly Retirement System pension to be taken away.
PLAINFIELD — State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) issued the following statement in response to the Illinois General Assembly Retirement System (GARS) board voting to suspend former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s $28,000 pension from his time as a state lawmaker:
“I applaud the board’s decision. I’m glad the General Assembly Retirement Board made the right decision. Hastert is a child predator who should not get public pensions. The taxpayers should not have to pay for his retirement.”
“I don’t want taxpayers’ dollars providing a retirement to this predator.”
PLAINFIELD— Illinois State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) said Thursday that former U.S. House Speaker Dennis J. Hastert is a disgrace to teachers and lawmakers and should be stripped of all taxpayer-funded pensions from past jobs.
“I don’t want taxpayers’ dollars providing a retirement to this predator,” Bertino-Tarrant said. She sent a letter Thursday to the General Assembly Retirement System asking that it immediately take steps to suspend and revoke Hastert’s public pension benefits.
On Wednesday, Hastert was sentenced to 15 months in prison for bank fraud stemming from efforts to cover up sex abuse dating back to his time as a teacher in Yorkville. Hastert later went on to serve in the Illinois General Assembly before being elected to Congress and rising to become the powerful U.S. House Speaker. He had qualified for pension benefits for his tenure as a teacher, state lawmaker and congressman.
Illinois’ Teachers Retirement System canceled Hastert’s pension on Wednesday. However, the General Assembly system has not. Media reports have put his state lawmaker pension at roughly $28,000 annually.
Bertino-Tarrant said taxpayers have no duty to provide retirement benefits to someone who betrayed them and victimized children.
“Knowing what we know now, he would have been fired and jailed decades ago and would have lost his teacher’s pension and never had the chance to be a lawmaker, let alone get a pension. We have a chance to set the record straight. We should do so immediately as part of the effort to restore the public’s trust,” Bertino-Tarrant said.
Her letter to the General Assembly Retirement System is here.