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Former US House speaker Dennis Hastert accused of molesting four boys

Prosecutors says Hastert sought to hide his abuse of a 14-year-old boy, which allegedly took place while he worked as a high school wrestling coach

The Guardian reports: The filing is the first time prosecutors have confirmed Hastert, who worked as house speaker from 1999 to 2007, paid hush-money to conceal sex abuse. The allegations date back to when he used to work at Yorkville high school from 1965 to 1981. Hastert is going to be sentenced on 27 April.

Hastert committed to recompense damages to one of his victims in an amount of $3.5 million. The victim was aged 14 at the time the harassment happened. The vicious chain of deception has begun with Hastert taking advantage of his position of teacher and coach and kept on years later, including lying to bank officials and concealing his wrongdoings by lying to the FBI about extortions. Prosecutors demanded up to six months in prison for violating the banking rules to silence one of the harassed individuals by paying him. The person was later marked in prosecutors’ files as an ‘individual A’.

“While defendant achieved great success, reaping all the benefits that went with it, these boys struggled, and all are still struggling now with what defendant did to them. Some have managed better than others, but all of them carry the scars defendant inflicted upon them,” the filing says.

“Prosecutors say Hastert still was abusing boys when he first decided to run for office, but the now-74-year-old Republican managed to keep any hint of sexual misconduct quiet throughout a political career that carried him from the Illinois Legislature to the halls of Congress and eventually to the speaker’s office, where he was second in the line of succession to the presidency,” continues the author of the article.

Individual A is but the one out of at least four people who, according to the filing, were abused as children by Hastert. While coaching the wrestlers team at Yorkville High, Hastert was reported to perform sexual acts consisting of “intentional touching of minors’ groin area and genitals or oral sex with a minor.” As reported, the abuse of the Individual A occurred in a motel room on the way home from wrestling camp; Hastert is alleged to have told the 14-year-old to stay in his room while the others team members were located in different rooms.

“Individual A said Hastert touched him inappropriately after suggesting he would massage a groin injury the boy had. The other former wrestlers told prosecutors Hastert touched them in the locker room at Yorkville High, after saying he would give them massages. Two of those wrestlers, who were ages 14 and 17, say Hastert performed sex acts on them,” assumes the author of the article.

It is stated in the filing that Hastert’s “history and characteristics are marred by stunning hypocrisy.” He made his victims “feel alone, ashamed, guilty and devoid of dignity,” prosecutors said. However, they have noted that statute of limitation on any sex-abuse charges have long since run out, which means they can pursue only banking crime charges, that reside on the following: over two years Hastert has been withdrawing funds in a total amount of $750,000. After he had learned that withdrawals over $10,000 are flagged, he changed his behavior and began withdrawing cash in smaller amount, and took out $952,000 for the next two years, which has made his actions a crime. It was reported that a total of $1.7 million was paid to the Individual A, and the prosecutors assume that had the money not been paid, the other victims would have the courage to speak out against the molester.

Hastert tried to justify those dubious withdrawals claiming that he has bought vintage cars for that money and that he did not trust the banks, so he had decided to invest his funds elsewhere. When he was finally pressed about the withdrawals, he tried to justify his actions by saying that he was being extorted by someone he said was making a false sex-abuse claim.

“Hastert agreed to let investigators record phone conversations he had with the man, and prosecutors concluded the man’s tone and comments “were inconsistent with someone committing extortion.”

Days after pleading guilty, Hastert entered the hospital and nearly died from a blood infection, according to his lawyers. They also say he had a stroke and required in-home care,” concludes the author of the article.

 

By Stefan Paraber for GIA.

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