Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert was sentenced to 15 months in prison for financial improprieties on April 27, according to Chicago Sun-Times.
Hastert had admitted to arranging significant withdrawals from his bank account so as steer clear of federal reporting requirements. The withdrawals were to buy the silence of a man who claimed to have been molested by Hastert when the politician was still a coach and teacher in Yorkville, Illinois, decades ago. Four other individuals made the same allegations.
The incidents happened too long ago for them to result in any additional charges against Hastert, who has been in ill health since news of the incidents broke last year. U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Durkin referred to Hastert as a "serial child molester" in the sentencing. Prosecutors had only asked for six months in jail.
Durkin pressed Hastert for a clarification on comments that he had "mistreated" the boys, leading to an admission from Hastert that he had indeed sexually abused them.
One of Hastert's victims, Scott Cross, testified in court against the former speaker. He had come forward after Hastert reached out for support from Cross' brother, Tom Cross, who was one of Hastert's former proteges.
"As a 17-year-old boy, I was devastated. I tried to figure out why Coach Hastert had singled me out," Scott Cross said. "I felt intense pain, shame and guilt."
One of Hastert's victims died. The politician now also faces a civil lawsuit filed by the man to whom he was paying the hush money.
Prosecutors said that victims they'd spoken with were reluctant to come forth since they suspected nobody would believe them, given the widespread veneration Hastert enjoyed while he was in Yorkville.
In a sentencing memo, Hastert's lawyers wrote, "Mr. Hastert feels deep regret and remorse for his actions decades ago and is prepared to accept the consequences. He understands, accepts, and admits that he violated the law."
Chicago Sun-Times' article is at bit.ly/1rhEoRJ .