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After Hastert, Illinois could change child sex abuse law

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert leaves the Dirksen Federal Court House in a wheelchair after his sentencing. | Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

SPRINGFIELD — An Illinois lawmaker is responding to the Dennis Hastert hush-money case with a proposal to give prosecutors the right to pursue child sex abuse charges no matter how long ago the crimes occurred.

The former U.S. House Speaker was sentenced to 15 months in prison last week in a hush-money case that revealed accusations he sexually abused teenagers decades ago while coaching high school wrestling in Yorkville, Illinois. Hastert was prosecuted for breaking federal banking rules but not on the sex-abuse allegations because of a statute of limitations.

Democratic Sen. Scott Bennett says time should not prevent child molesters from being prosecuted. No hearing has been held yet on his proposal.

Lawmakers in Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania are also considering proposals that would remove statutes of limitations for child sex crimes.