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Northern Illinois University to revoke Dennis Hastert's honorary degree

By Allen Cone
Northern Illinois University to revoke Dennis Hastert's honorary degree
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert leaves federal court after his sentencing hearing in Chicago on April 27, 2016. Northern Illinois University's Board of Trustees will vote on a recommendation to strip Haster of an honorary law degree. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | License Photo

DEKALB, Ill., May 5 (UPI) -- Northern Illinois University is revoking the honorary law degree given to former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

"Mr. Hastert's recent felony conviction for fraudulent banking transactions, as well as the testimony about his participation in sexual abuse of children offered during sentencing proceedings, constitute incontrovertible evidence that he has acted in ways that do not reflect the values of the institution," NIU President Doug Baker wrote in a memo.

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Hastert was sentenced to 15 months in prison on April 27 for fraud and lying to federal agents about withdrawals from his bank account made to evade federal reporting requirements. In court, he admitted to sexually abusing teenagers decades ago when he coached high school wrestling in Yorkville, Ill. He agreed to pay $3.5 million to silence one accuser who testified in court.

The University Council unanimously approved the decision to revoke Hastert's degree Wednesday on a recommendation from the Honorary Degree Committee.

Hastert was awarded the Doctor of Laws in December 1999. He received his master's degree in philosophy of education from NIU in 1967.

The school's board of trustees will vote on the honorary revocation at its May 19 meeting.

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The National Wrestling Hall of Fame also revoked its honors on Monday. The Oklahoma-based organization had not revoked an honor since its founding 40 years ago.

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