Powerful politician walks free: Sex abuse victim disappointed

A man believed to be one of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s sexual abuse victims said Tuesday that Hastert’s early release from prison came as a “surprise,” reports CNN.

Hastert was sentenced to 15 months in prison after pleading guilty to hiding money transactions. An investigation into the sketchy banking transactions reportedly revealed a decades-long cover up of sexual abuse. Detectives reportedly discovered that the former teacher and wrestling coach molested teenagers during the years he taught at a Chicago high school. Hastert is believed to have paid his victims millions of dollars in hush money for their silence.

He was not convicted of sexual assault because the statute of limitations had expired, but he admitted in a plea agreement to giving $3.5 million to a man identified as “Individual A” “to compensate for and keep confidential his prior misconduct against Individual A,” reports the New York Times.

The misconduct mentioned in the plea agreement wasn’t specified as sexual abuse, but Hastert did admit to sexually abusing the teenagers he used to coach. According to federal prosecutors, “Individual A” is just one of at least four boys molested by Hastert.

At his sentencing, Judge Thomas M. Durkin of Federal District Court told Hastert, “some actions can obliterate a lifetime of good works.”

“Nothing is more stunning than having ‘serial child molester’ and ‘speaker of the House’ in the same sentence.”

After serving only 13 months, he was released from prison and is now under the supervision of a Chicago resident re-entry management field office where he will serve the remainder of his sentence. In addition to his time served in prison, Hastert was required to pay a $250,000 fine and receive sex-offender treatment.

Scott Cross, a man believed to be sexually abused by Hastert and who spoke at the trial, told CNN that he wasn’t happy about the sentence the former speaker of the House received.

“I was a little surprised. I was a little, to be honest, a little disappointed in the sentence that was given out.”

Cross said it took him 37 years to come forward about the abuse because of the emotional and psychological toll it took.

“You think about shame, guilt, embarrassment, humiliation — the Hasterts of the world have so much trust and respect over you that you really have a hard time processing and understanding it.”

The report said that Cross seeks to have the statute of limitations for these types of crimes removed in the state of Illinois, and eventually the entire country. He wants to be an example for others who are going through the same pain as he is.

“I hope by coming out and talking about this, other people have the courage to come out and speak out about this, whether its him or somebody else out there.”

Hastert was elected to the House of Representatives and served from 1987-2007. He served as speaker from 1999-2007.


Feature photo: Associated Press