Hastert sentenced to 15 months, sex offender treatment

Dennis Hastert
FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2015 file photo, former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert leaves the federal courthouse in Chicago. The lawyer for Dennis Hastert said Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, the former U.S. House Speaker had a stroke during the first week of November and has been hospitalized since then. Attorney Tom Green said in a statement reported by Politico that Hastert had a stroke, has been treated for sepsis and had two back surgeries while in the hospital. The 73-year-old Hastert pleaded guilty Oct. 28 to a felony count of evading bank reporting laws in a hush-money scheme. (AP Photo/Matt Marton File)

A federal judge has sentenced Dennis Hastert to 15 months in prison in a hush-money case that centered on accusations that the former U.S. House speaker sexually abused at least four students when he was a high school wrestling coach.

Judge Thomas M. Durkin announced the sentence Wednesday.

Hastert also must undergo sex offender treatment, two years of supervised release after his time behind bars and a $250,000 fine to go to a crime victims fund.

He pleaded guilty last fall to violating banking law as he sought to pay someone referred to as Individual A $3.5 million to keep sex abuse secret.

Before he sentenced Hastert, Durkin described the 74-year-old Illinois Republican as a “serial child molester,” and that “accusing Individual A of extorting you was unconscionable.”

He was the nation’s longest-serving GOP speaker and was second in the line of succession to the presidency.

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11:40 a.m.

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

The 74-year-old former House Speaker is at a sentencing hearing Wednesday on his guilty plea to violating banking reporting laws.

Judge Thomas M. Durkin 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.”

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11:25 a.m.

A federal judge has described Dennis Hastert as a “serial child molester” as he prepares to issue a sentence in the former U.S. House speaker’s hush-money case.

Judge Thomas M. Durkin said Wednesday that he would order Hastert to undergo sex offender treatment as part of his sentence.

The 74-year-old Hastert read a prepared statement which he told the court that he “mistreated” some of his athletes. When Durkin asked whether he sexually abused one wrestler specifically, Hastert said yes.

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11 a.m.

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has told a federal courtroom that he “mistreated” some of the athletes he coached decades ago as a high school teacher and that he’s “deeply ashamed.”

The 74-year-old Republican spoke during his sentencing hearing Wednesday in federal court in Chicago. He said, “I mistreated some of my athletes that I coached,” and that “I’m deeply ashamed to be standing before you today.”

Hastert pleaded guilty in October to violating banking reporting laws as he sought to pay someone $3.5 million.

Hastert’s plea deal sets out a sentencing guideline ranging from probation to six months behind bars. But the judge could impose a harsher sentence.

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10:45 a.m.

A defense attorney for former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has told a federal courtroom that he “acknowledges and respects” the pain of a man who says Hastert sexually abused him when Hastert was a high school wrestling coach.

Attorney Thomas Green spoke Wednesday at a sentencing hearing in Hastert’s hush-money case.

Green urged the judge to take into consideration the “entire arc” of Hastert’s life, asserting that he reshaped his life as a public servant during his political career.

The 74-year-old Republican pleaded guilty in October to violating banking reporting laws as he sought to pay someone $3.5 million.

Hastert’s plea deal sets out a sentencing guideline ranging from probation to six months behind bars. But the judge could impose a harsher sentence.

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10:40 a.m.

The lead prosecutor in the Dennis Hastert hush-money case says he wishes the former U.S. House speaker could have been charged with the sexual abuse he was trying to cover up.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Block said Wednesday that Hastert’s conduct while a high school teacher and coach was “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.

Block said whatever sentence Hastert gets should take into account that the 74-year-old Republican “continues to deny what should now be obvious to everyone.”

Hastert pleaded guilty in October to violating banking reporting laws as he sought to pay someone $3.5 million.

Hastert’s plea deal sets out a sentencing guideline ranging from probation to six months behind bars. But the judge could impose a harsher sentence.

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10:30 a.m.

A former high school athlete who says he was sexually abused by Dennis Hastert when the former U.S. House Speaker was his wrestling coach has told a courtroom that he was “devastated” after Hastert abused him in a high school locker room.

The remarks by the man referred to in presentencing filings only as Individual D were part of a victim impact statement at Hastert’s sentencing Wednesday at a federal courthouse in Chicago.

The man struggled to hold back tears as he described the abuse in detail, which the man said happened while he and Hastert were alone in the locker room. He said he trusted and looked up to Hastert.

He also said he sought professional help in years since and has had trouble sleeping, but it still causes him suffering.

Hastert pleaded guilty in October to violating banking reporting laws as he sought to pay someone $3.5 million. Prosecutors say it was hush money to conceal past sexual abuse.

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10:25 a.m.

A man who says Dennis Hastert sexually abused him when he was a high school wrestler has come forward to speak at the former House speaker’s sentencing hearing in his hush-money case.

The man referred to in presentencing filings only as Individual D began making a statement Wednesday at the 74-year-old Hastert’s sentencing in Chicago.

Individual D told prosecutors previously he was 17 when Hastert molested him in a locker room at Yorkville High outside Chicago. Prosecutors say Hastert sexually abused at least four students when taught and coached at the school until 1981.

Hastert pleaded guilty to breaking banking law as he sought to pay someone referred to as Individual A $3.5 million to keep Hastert’s sex abuse secret.

He faces a prison sentence of up to five years.

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10:20 a.m.

A woman who says her brother was sexually abused by Dennis Hastert when the former U.S. House Speaker was an Illinois high school wrestling coach has told a courtroom that he felt “betrayed, ashamed and embarrassed.”

Jolene Burdge said Wednesday that Hastert abused her brother, Stephen Reinboldt, throughout his years at Yorkville High School, where Hastert was a history teacher and coach from 1965 to 1981.

Hastert pleaded guilty in October to violating banking reporting laws as he sought to pay someone $3.5 million. Prosecutors say it was hush money to conceal past sexual abuse.

His plea deal suggests a sentence between probation and six months behind bars.

Reinboldt died of AIDS in 1995. Burdge said Wednesday toward Hastert “don’t be a coward … tell the truth.”

She also told Hastert, “I hope I have been your worst nightmare.”

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10:01 a.m.

The sentencing hearing in former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s hush-money case centered on sex-abuse allegations for has begun in a federal court in Chicago.

Hastert was brought into the courtroom in a wheelchair a few minutes before the hearing started Wednesday. An attorney was carrying a walker.

The 74-year-old Republican pleaded guilty to breaking banking law as he sought to pay someone $3.5 million to conceal dark secrets from his past.

His plea deal suggests a sentence between probation and six months behind bars. But Judge Thomas M. Durkin has recently made comments suggesting he could impose a far stiffer sentence.

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7:30 a.m.

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has arrived at a federal courthouse in Chicago for his sentencing in a hush-money case centered on sex-abuse allegations.

A man helped the 74-year-old Republican out of a black SUV and into a wheelchair along the curb outside the high-rise courthouse in downtown Chicago on Wednesday morning. His attorneys say he has been in poor health after nearly dying from a blood infection and suffering a stroke in November.

Hastert pleaded guilty to breaking banking law as he sought to pay someone $3.5 million. Prosecutors say it was hush money to conceal past sexual abuse against a student wrestler while Hastert was a high school teacher and coach.

His plea deal sets out a sentencing guideline ranging from probation to six months behind bars. But the judge could impose a harsher sentence.

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1 a.m.

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert is stepping before a judge to learn his punishment in a hush-money case centered on sex-abuse allegations.

At Wednesday’s hearing in Chicago, federal prosecutors intend to focus on accusations that Hastert molested at least four students when he coached wrestling at an Illinois high school.

The 74-year-old Republican pleaded guilty to breaking banking law as he sought to pay someone $3.5 million to conceal dark secrets from his past. His plea deal suggests a sentence between probation and six months behind bars.

But Judge Thomas M. Durkin made comments at recent hearings suggesting he could impose a far stiffer sentence than a half-a-year in prison.

If that happens, Hastert would become one of the highest-ranking politicians in American history ever to be incarcerated.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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