Update: Hastert Sentenced In Hush Money Case


CHICAGO----The judge in the hush-money case of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert called Hastert a "serial child molester" before imposing his sentence.

Judge Thomas M. Durkin sentenced Hastert Wednesday morning to 15 months in prison. The judge also said he would impose two years of supervised release after his time behind bars, and ordered Hastert to undergo sex offender treatment as part of his sentence.

Hastert pleaded guilty in October to violating banking reporting laws as he sought to pay someone $3.5 million in a hush-money case.

Hastert, 74, told the court he is "deeply ashamed" and says he "mistreated" some athletes he coached.

The lead prosecutor, assistant U.S. attorney Steven Block, said Wednesday morning he wishes Hastert could have been charged with the sexual abuse he was trying to cover up. Block called Hastert's conduct while a high school teacher and coach "horrendous".

Because of the statute of limitations, Hastert could only be charged with a financial crime related to payments he made to one of at least four victims of sexual abuse. A man known as Individual D previously told prosecutors he was 17 when Hastert molested him in a locker room at Yorkville High School outside Chicago. Prosecutors say Hastert abused at least four students when he taught and coached at the school until 1981.

Judge Durkin has described the abuse detailed by Individual A, whom Dennis Hastert sought to pay $3.5 million.

The judge said Individual A was abused as a 14-year-old during a wrestling camp trip to Colorado. Individual A has said other boys on the trip were older and teased A because he would have to sleep alone in Hastert's motel room while the others slept in another room.

Durkin said Individual A has said he didn't know to be worried, because Hastert was a trusted coach and friends with the boy's family.  Durkin said there's "nothing ambiguous about this. ... This is sexual abuse."

A defense attorney for Hastert told a federal courtroom Wednesday morning that the judge should take into consideration the "entire arc" of Hastert's life, saying that he reshaped his life as a public servant during his political career.

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