Chicago prosecutors, in newly filed documents, allege that Dennis Hastert, the former speaker of the House, molested at least four young boys. The New York Times reports that some of the boys were as young as 14, and the incidents happened while he was a high school wrestling coach decades ago.
Hastert is not facing charges related to the alleged sexual assaults because the statue of limitation ran out. However, Hastert pleaded guilty last year to a felony count of illegally structuring bank withdrawals to avoid IRS reporting requirements. Prosecutors believe he did that to pay hush money to one of his victims so as to hide the abuse.
Prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum that “that the actions at the core of this case took place not on the defendant’s national public stage but in his private one-on-one encounters in an empty locker room and a motel room with minors that violates the special trust between those young boys and their coach.”
The memo contends that law enforcement was initially concerned that his unusual cash withdrawals were indicative of criminal activity of which Hastert was either the perpetrator or a victim. What investigators unraveled was much different story from what they ever expected. The sentencing memorandum discusses how the FBI recorded a series of calls with Hastert and his alleged victim which helped them figure out what the scheme was really about.
“The defendant knew that if his molestation of (individual, not named) became public, it would increase the chance that other former students he molested would tell their stories,” the government stated. In one case, prosecutors say a high school wrestler was asked by Hastert if he wanted a massage after he finished showering. Hastert, according to the sentencing memo, told him to get on the table and inappropriately touched him. In another case, a 14-year old student was also alone in the locker room, and Hastert offered to give him a massage, according to prosecutors, he then performed a sexual act on the student.
According to the Chicago Sun Times, Hastert’s lawyers wrote, “Mr. Hastert feels deep regret and remorse for his actions decades ago and is prepared to accept the consequences.”
An attorney for Hastert did not respond to the Times request for comment on this story. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 27th.