Former House Speaker Hastert sentenced to 15 months in prison

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |  Updated April 27, 2016 at 4:06 PM
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CHICAGO, April 27 (UPI) -- Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert was sentenced Wednesday to 15 months in prison on charges of fraud and lying to federal agents in a case related to alleged sexual abuse.

Hastert is accused of sexually abusing four boys between the ages of 14 and 17 when he worked as a teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School in the small town of Yorkville, Ill., west of Chicago, between 1965 and 1981.

The former Republican party leader pleaded guilty in October to bank fraud for "structuring" withdrawals from his bank account to evade mandatory reporting requirements for any transaction $10,000 or above.

Hastert admitted he arranged the payments to a person only identified as Individual A for a total of $3.5 million to cover up decades-old alleged sexual misconduct. He also admitted lying to the FBI when questioned in 2014 about the bank withdrawals.

Hastert, who served as House speaker for eight years, said he agreed to make the payment to settle "past misconduct" against that person.

He attracted the attention of federal regulators in late 2014 for making numerous cash withdrawals in amounts less than $10,000 -- the threshold at which banks are required by law to report them -- to pay off the former student.

In court, he admitted to the abuse, saying he "mistreated" some wrestlers he coached, saying: "They looked to me, and I took advantage of them."

"What I did was wrong and I regret it," Hastert said.

Northern District of Illinois Judge Thomas M. Durkin -- who called Hastert a "serial child molester" -- said Hastert should enroll in a sex-offender treatment program.

Although Hastert previously did not admit to sexually abusing the boys, when Durkin directly asked if Hastert sexually abused the victims; Hastert's reply was "Yes."

An earlier version of this story contained erroneous information.

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