Judge rules Hastert 'hush money' lawsuit can proceed

By Martin Smith  |  April 28, 2016 at 1:22 PM
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YORKVILLE, Ill., April 28 (UPI) -- A day after Dennis Hastert was sentenced to 15 months in prison, his victim was given the go-ahead by a judge to proceed with a lawsuit to get money he claims that he is owed by the former U.S. House Speaker.

For now, the ex-student, known as Individual A, can remain anonymous as he attempts to collect the $1.8 million, plus accrued interest, he says the "serial child molester" promised to give him for not going public with abuse accusations.

The plaintiff claims in his lawsuit that the disgraced Illinois Republican agreed in 2010 to pay him $3.5 million in "hush money" to stop the allegations from going public.

He says that Hastert has already paid him $1.7 million, but he stopped receiving payments in December 2014 after federal authorities questioned Hastert about irregular bank withdrawals.

The lawsuit alleges that Hastert, who was a wrestling coach at Yorkville High School in the small town of Yorkville, Ill., west of Chicago, molested the then 14-year-old in a motel when he attended an overnight wrestling camp.

The veteran politician, now 74, is said to have sexually abused five students while he was a wrestling coach at the high school in the 1970s, before he entered politics. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 20 years -- eight of those, between 1999 and 2007, as house speaker.

The lawsuit was filed under the pseudonym James Doe because the victim claims that the use of his real name would cause "great psychological damage to him in the form of shame and embarrassment." He also expressed concern about the damage it would cause his family.

Kendall County Judge Robert Pilmer ruled Thursday that the victim can remain anonymous for now, but said he may someday have to testify in open court.

Neither Hastert nor Individual A were present in court.

"He's a very private person, and this obviously changed his life," said the victim's lawyer Kristi Browne. "He's had to relive this drama every time this is in the news."

The case is due in court again July 25 in Yorkville.

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