In a long line of Washington scandals, few are as shocking as that of Dennis Hastert. The former Speaker of the House has managed to escape prosecution for allegedly molesting children due to a regrettably expired statute of limitations.
The public disapproval of statutes of limitations on child sexual abuse offenses has become a highly charged issue with some real momentum for legal change over recent months. Despite popular support for removing the statutes, some states are facing challenges to bills that would see the likes of Hastert receive the sort of legal scrutiny that anyone accused of similar crimes would expect, keeping those whose crimes came to light years after the fact from getting off on technicalities.
On a recent episode of The Daily Show, host Trevor Noah detailed Hastert’s long string of crimes as Speaker, which included both sexual allegations and hush payments to one of his alleged victims, which he made with stolen funds.
The segment went on to highlight an effort to block a statute of limitations-overturning bill in Connecticut by the Catholic Church.
From Business Insider:
Bishops’ lobbying groups are fighting efforts to extend the statue of limitations in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Iowa.
New York bishops since 2006 have been fighting a bill that would eliminate both civil and criminal statute of limitations for past cases of child sex abuse, though they say they support an alternate proposal that would only apply to future abuse.
The Church contends that allowing victims to sue over abuse decades ago would open the way for cases based on flimsy evidence as well as take a further heavy toll on its finances.
The irony of an institution whose entire existence springs from the repercussions of a crime committed by people in a garden thousands of years ago asking a state legislature to make it impossible to prosecute people whose crimes occurred within a human lifespan is, of course, a rich one.
Watch the segment in the video below:
Featured image via Flickr