The scandal surrounding former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert got deeper and uglier late Friday when reports surfaced that the $3.5 million he’s accused of mishandling was to pay a former student to keep quiet about his sexual abuse of students from when Hastert was a teacher and wrestling coach in Illinois.
Hastert taught in Yorkville, Illinois between 1965 and 1981 and was a teacher and wrestling coach before entering politics. Hastert was indicted by federal prosecutors on Thursday for lying to the FBI about $3.5 million paid to an anonymous person so he could “cover up past misconduct.”
A federal law enforcement official confirmed early Friday night that the former student was a male and a minor at the time the alleged sexual abuse took place. Law enforcement officials said investigators deemed it was not a case of extortion and the claims had merit, as they declined to pursue extortion charges against the recipient of the money.
Haster’s former employer, Yorkville High School, said it had no knowledge of the matter.
“Yorkville Community Unit School District #115 has no knowledge of Mr. Hastert’s alleged misconduct, nor has any individual contacted the District to report any such misconduct,” it said in a statement.
Hastert’s bail was set at $4,500, the U.S. Attorney’s office said Friday. His first appearance in court, for an arraignment, will likely be next week.
The new revelations raises a variety of questions which will surely come to light in the coming weeks.
It also exposes deep corruption of our elected officials, who play by a different set of rules than hard working Americans. There is deep hypocrisy in the sexual abuse revelations as Hastert painted himself as a crusader for child sex abuse victims.
“At home, we put the security of our children first, and Republicans are doing just that in our nation’s House,” he once stated. “We’ve all seen the disturbing headlines about sex offenders and crimes against children. These crimes cannot persist. Protecting our children from Internet predators and child exploitation enterprises are just as high a priority as securing our border from terrorists.”
The word ring hollow and show clearly that our politicians say one thing and do another.