Illinois ends statute of limitations on reporting, prosecuting sex assaults

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation that will remove the statutes of limitation for sexual abuse crimes.
Rauner signed the measure Friday. Sponsor state Sen. Michael Hastings of Frankfort says the legislation puts in place "best practices for dealing with sexual assault cases statewide and puts a system in place that will encourage survivors to come forward and receive justice when they are ready."
Statutes of limitation restrict the time when authorities can charge someone after a crime occurs. The legislation Rauner signed removes those limitations for felony criminal sexual abuse and sex crimes against children. That will allow for the prosecution of those crimes at any time.
Under previous law victims had to report crimes within 20 years after turned 18. The legislation goes into effect immediately.

The law was supported by Scott Cross, a victim of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who molested students at an Illinois high school decades ago. By the time the assaults were revealed, the statute of limitations had expired.

"Dennis Hastert used his authority and position as a role model to violate the trust of the youth in his care - in the most unimaginable way possible. And despite the lives ruined and decades of pain and suffering the survivors continue to deal with, he will never be held accountable,” Scott Cross said. “I am thankful that Illinois law will now allow survivors of these horrific crimes to come forward in their own time, and get justice – no matter how overdue.”

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