One time Speaker of the US House, J. Dennis Hastert, has gone from a small town icon to the center of a sweeping criminal indictment. An indictment that has left his small town in shock and even despair.
The New York Times: Decades of Sex Abuse?
J. Dennis Hastert, who served for eight years as speaker of the House of Representatives, was paying a former student hundreds of thousands of dollars to not say publicly that Mr. Hastert had sexually abused him decades ago, according to two people briefed on the evidence uncovered in an F.B.I. investigation.
Federal prosecutors on Thursday announced the indictment of Mr. Hastert, 73, on allegations that he made cash withdrawals, totaling $1.7 million, to evade detection by banks. The federal authorities also charged him with lying to them about the purpose of the withdrawals.
The former student — who was not identified in court papers — told the F.B.I. that he had been inappropriately touched by Mr. Hastert when the former speaker was a high school teacher and wrestling coach, the two people said Friday. The people briefed on the investigation spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a federal investigation.
It was not clear when the suspected behavior, which was first reported byThe Los Angeles Times, occurred. Mr. Hastert was a high school teacher and coach in Yorkville, Ill., from 1965 to 1981, and the indictment said the recipient of the payments was from Yorkville… (read more)
PBS News Hour:
USA Today: Official – Hastert Paid Hush Money
Former GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert allegedly made a series of illegally structured bank withdrawals as part of an effort to conceal past sexual misconduct with an unnamed person, a law enforcement official said.
The alleged misconduct occurred years ago when Hastert was an Illinois high school wrestling coach. The person is someone Hastert has known for most of his life, according to the official.
Federal authorities would not identify when the alleged misconduct occurred or the nature of it. But the New York Times, citing undisclosed sources, said that a man told the F.B.I. that he had been inappropriately touched by Mr. Hastert when Mr. Hastert was a high school teacher and wrestling coach.
The Chicago Sun-Times and Buzzfeed cited anonymous sources who said investigators also interviewed a second alleged victim.
Hastert was indicted Thursday for allegedly evading reporting requirements related to the withdrawals and lying to the FBI about the cash used to “compensate” the person, identified in court documents as “Individual A,” for the past conduct.
A federal magistrate set a preliminary bond of $4,500 and Hastert is free on his own recognizance, according to court papers filed Friday.
Many on Capitol Hill were shocked at the news… (read more)