Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has been sentenced to 15 months in prison in a federal hush-money case involving allegations he sexually abused multiple students when he was a high school wrestling coach decades ago.
The 74-year-old is also required to undergo sex offender treatment and to pay a $250,000 fine to a crime victims fund, federal judge Thomas M. Durkin ordered at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.
The sentencing concludes the ongoing case, which involved payments Hastert made to a former student he allegedly sexually abused during his time as a wrestling coach at an Illinois high school, reported ABC News.
Hastert faced one of the four accusers in court, Wednesday: businessman Scott Cross, who came forward to lodge his allegations against the once-powerful Republican. Cross said, on the stand, that Hastert once assaulted him in the school’s locker room and regularly “offered massages,” according to multiple reports.
“I am deeply ashamed to be standing here today,” Hastert told the judge before sentencing. “I know I am here because I mistreated some of my athletes that I coached… I want to apologize to the boys I mistreated. I was wrong and I accept that.”
The former politician pleaded guilty to violating banking law last fall for illegally structuring cash withdrawals to evade bank currency-reporting requirements. He cannot be charged for the alleged abuse due to the statute of limitations.
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Earlier this week, one of the former students filed a lawsuit in Illinois charging that the ex-House Speaker failed to pay more than $1.8 million of a $3.5 million agreement to compensate for the alleged abuse. The suit demands the remaining money be paid to the victim. Hastert’s attorneys have declined to comment on the case.
The new lawsuit says the abuse had long-term ramifications for the man, alleging: “For many years to follow, Plaintiff suffered severe panic attacks which lead [sic] to periods of unemployment, career changes, bouts of depression, hospitalization, and long-term psychiatric treatment.”