Moylan Co-Sponsoring Legislation Giving Child Sex Crime Victims Their Fair Shot at Justice

“The Dennis Hastert case can give hope to other victims of childhood sexual abuse that one day their perpetrator may be brought to justice. It’s unfortunate, however, that it took this high profile of a case to highlight the need for these pieces of legislation,” Moylan said. “This case can give others the courage to come forward, but we need laws on the books that allow victims to get the justice they deserve.”

Moylan is co-sponsoring three bills to remove the statute of limitations on various child sex crimes. House Bill 1127 eliminates the statute of limitations for sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and predatory criminal sexual assault. House Bill 1128 eliminates the statute of limitations for involuntary sexual servitude of a minor, involuntary servitude, indecent solicitation of a child, failure to report sexual abuse of a child, and patronizing a minor engaged in prostitution. House Bill 1129 addresses child pornography and internet related offenses.

Victims of rape and sexual abuse are often reluctant to report the crime. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, nine out of 10 child sexual abuse victims are abused by someone close to them, and may be hesitant to report them. Disclosure of sexual abuse is often delayed; children often avoid telling because they are either afraid of a negative reaction from their parents or of being harmed by the abuser. This causes them to often delay disclosure until adulthood.

Last month, the former speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert, agreed to a plea deal for illegal bank withdrawals and lying to federal law enforcement agents. The illegal withdrawals were made to an individual as hush money payments to keep past sexual misconduct from going public. A federal judge sentenced Hastert to 15 months in prison, a $250,000 fine, mandatory sex-offender treatment and ordered him to never contact his victims again.

One of the victims, Scott Cross, the younger brother of former Illinois House Republican leader Tom Cross, testified before the judge that Coach Hastert groped him on a massage table when he was 17 years old. Cross described the molestation he suffered at the hands of Hastert as his darkest secret as he fought back tears. He described the incident as leaving him devastated, in pain, and feeling shame and guilt.

“Adults are very powerful and influential in the lives of children, because of this, children can struggle to come forward and talk about abuse,” said Moylan. “We need to eliminate the statute of limitations on sex crimes committed against children so that victims are old enough to have the courage and understanding to come forward.”

These bills are the latest in a series of initiatives by Moylan to address sexual crimes. Moylan has also supported bills addressing the larger problem of sexual assault. He supported House Bill 3848, which prevents hospitals from billing rape victims for emergency care or the cost of processing evidence, and he supported House Bill 369, which gives police and prosecutors more time to put dangerous rapists behind bars. Moylan supported House Bill 821, which created a “survivor-centered” approach for addressing sexual assault and similar crimes on college campuses. All these bills became law. Moylan also hosted a women’s self-defense seminar in March so residents could learn techniques to help lower their risk of becoming a victim.