Prosecutors: Hastert Abused Boys, Paid Hush Money

Court filing details abuse allegations
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 9, 2016 9:53 AM CDT
Prosecutors: Hastert Abused Boys, Paid Hush Money
Former US House Speaker Dennis Hastert departs the federal courthouse in Chicago last year.   (AP Photo/Christian K. Lee, File)

Dennis Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million to a person the former House speaker sexually abused when the victim was a 14-year-old wrestler on a team coached by Hastert, prosecutors said in a court filing that details allegations by four former students. The filing Friday night is the first time prosecutors have confirmed Hastert paid hush money to conceal sex abuse. It chronicles a chain of deception that began with Hastert exploiting his position of trust as a teacher and coach and carried on years later to include lying to bank officials and making false claims of extortion to the FBI to conceal his wrongdoing. The filing recommends that a federal judge sentence Hastert to up to six months in prison for violating banking laws.

Hastert cannot be charged with sexual abuse as the statute of limitations has expired in the cases, which date from from 1965 to 1981, when he was a popular coach at Yorkvile High School in Illinois, the New York Times reports. "The actions at the core of this case took place not on the defendant’s national public stage but in his private one-on-one encounters in an empty locker room and a motel room with minors that violated the special trust between those young boys and their coach," the filing states. Prosecutors wrote that Hastert's "history and characteristics are marred by stunning hypocrisy," and he made his victims "feel alone, ashamed, guilty, and devoid of dignity." Hastert, who pleaded guilty in October to breaking banking laws, is scheduled to be sentenced April 27. (More Dennis Hastert stories.)

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