IL--Victims push for stronger child sex abuse laws

Victims push for stronger child sex abuse laws

They predict: “Hastert will try to get out early

Group says “Give us more time to expose predators

It backs both new federal plan and state reform too

SNAP also honors one of Hastert’s victims who spoke up in court


Carrying signs and childhood photos, in the wake of Dennis Hastert’s imprisonment, abuse victims march through downtown Chicago and hold a news conference.

They will

--praise victims and others who helped get the ex-House speaker convicted, and

--urge correctional officials to look with “heightened skepticism” on what they say is a “likely move” by Hastert to seek early release for alleged health reasons

They will also

--announce their support for two federal proposals to reform the statute of limitations, and

--urge Illinois lawmakers to also relax the state’s “predator-friendly” abuse laws.


Sunday, June 26. Meet at 12:45 pm 


In Chicago, meet at 12:45 pm at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart, 350 West Mart Center Drive and walk to the Illinois State Office Building (James R. Thomson Center), 100 W. Randolf St., Chicago by 1:15pm.  (The group will march down Wacker E. to Clark S. streets)


A group of adults who were abused as kids by clergy, teachers and others and belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (, which is holding its annual conference this weekend.


1) On Wednesday, Hastert reported to prison. But SNAP predicts that he will seek an early release claiming ill health. The group wants correctional officials to scrutinize any such claim vigorously.

“In our experience, predators often try to ‘game the system’ and exploit any loophole they can to get special treatment, pretending to be sick or have poor memories or otherwise be virtually helpless and non-threatening,” says Barbara Dorris of SNAP. “We strongly suspect Hastert will do this too and we want prison officials to examine any claims like this very carefully.”

“Our focus is on deterring future crimes and cover ups, not on making Hastert suffer,” explained Barbra Graber of SNAP. “When we harshly penalize adults who hurt kids or hide crimes, we prevent more adults from hurting kids and hiding crimes. This is being prudent, not punitive.”

2) To prevent future cases like Hastert’s, SNAP also wants the Illinois state legislature to pass a law letting anyone who was abused at any time to file civil suits to expose those who committed and concealed the crimes.

The group says “the archaic, arbitrary, predator-friendly statute of limitations is the single greatest obstacle to stopping child sex crimes and cover ups.” It notes that several states, including Pennsylvania, are debating relaxing their statutes and several have already done so using civil “windows” (Minnesota, Hawaii, California and Delaware).

3) Nevada Senator Harry Reid has introduced legislation authorizing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to give grants to states that eliminate statutes of limitations on laws involving child sexual abuse, giving victims more time to come forward and report their abusers.

4) Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is sponsoring a bill to reform the federal statute of limitations on child sex crimes, giving victims of sexual violence more chances to expose those who commit and conceal sexual abuse in civil courts. SNAP wants Illinois public officials, especially those who repeatedly deplored Denny Hastert’s crimes in the news media, to push hard for the measure’s adoption.

SNAP supports both federal proposals.

“Child sexual assault is a national problem and needs national solutions,” said Stephanie Krehbiel of SNAP. 

5) At SNAP’s conference, Scott Cross will be honored by an award. He is one of Hastert’s victims who spoke at the ex-politician’s sentencing hearing.


Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747[email protected]), Danielle Stefanick ([email protected]), Carly Petrusky ([email protected])

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