‘James Doe’ lawsuit against former House Speaker Dennis Hastert continued to February

December 9, 2017

YORKVILLE – Depositions for disgraced former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and a man who said Hastert sexually assaulted him decades ago are expected to take place within the next couple of months, lawyers for the two parties said Friday.

An anonymous accuser known as James Doe alleged that Hastert promised to pay him $3.5 million to keep quiet about Hastert’s sexual assault of Doe when he was a freshman at Yorkville High School, but has said that Hastert only paid him $1.7 million. In his civil lawsuit, Doe is seeking the rest of the money he claims he is owed.

Hastert was a teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School from 1965 to 1981. He went on to become the longest-serving Republican Speaker of the House in the 1990s, retiring in 2007.

In April 2016, Hastert was convicted in federal court of violating federal banking regulations to cover up the sexual abuse of teenage boys during his years as a high school teacher. After serving more than a year in federal prison in Minnesota, he was transferred in July to a halfway house in Chicago to complete his 15-month sentence.

During a conference call hearing Friday at the Kendall County Courthouse, Doe’s attorney, Kristi Browne, said that the written discovery for the case has not been completed.

The parties are working on a protective order for the plaintiff to maintain his privacy. Once that order is complete, Browne said, she expects discovery to continue between the parties.

During a previous courtroom appearance, Judge Robert Pilmer ruled that Browne’s discovery only could reach as far back as 2008, when Doe and Hastert entered their contract. Browne originally had requested for discovery to reach as far back as the 1960s, when Hastert first was hired as a teacher and coach at Yorkville.

In regard to possible depositions in the case, Browne confirmed that her client could be deposed within 60 days. However, John Ellis, an attorney for Hastert, indicated that he did not yet want to confirm a date when Hastert might be deposed. He cited the upcoming holidays and discussions between the parties.

The two attorneys agreed to either complete the depositions or at least agree upon the rules for the depositions within the next 60 days.

The case will be back on the courthouse docket Feb. 23.