Dennis Hastert ‘64, Wheaton alumnus and former GOP Speaker of the House, began serving his 15 month prison sentence on June 22. The 74-year-old will be held at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minn., one of six federal medical prison centers nationwide.
The FMC houses over 600 male offenders who require professional medical or mental health treatment during incarceration. Perhaps one of the center’s most notorious inmates is Jared Lee Loughner, who is currently serving a life sentence for taking the lives of six people and injuring 13 others in an attempt to assassinate congresswoman Gabby Giffords in 2011.
Hastert, who entered the facility in June via wheelchair, will require treatment for medical complications related to a stroke last November.
Despite admitting to sexually abusing boys when he was a wrestling coach at Yorkville High School in Illinois, the former politician could only be sentenced for financial infractions in which he attempted to pay $3.5 million in hush money to an Individual A for alleged sexual misconduct.
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune in April, Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said, “Illinois has waited too long” to eliminate statutes of limitations. The current statute of limitations for crimes like Hastert’s alleged actions lasts for 20 years after the victim turns 18.
On June 26, just four days after Hastert’s sentence began, SNAP planned a march through downtown Chicago to urge Illinois lawmakers to “push hard” for the adoption of a bill increasing the time frame within which child victims can report their abusers. Marchers also hoped to encourage correctional officers to be wary of Hastert, as SNAP believes he may appeal for early release, according to their website.
To date, only two states — Delaware and Minnesota — have completely eliminated the statute of limitations on child sex crimes.