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“Serial child molester” Dennis Hastert sentenced to 15 months in prison

Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016

* Sun-Times

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert arrived at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse about 7:10 a.m. Wednesday to be sentenced for violating banking laws.

The case, however, has become notorious not for that crime but for what the investigation of his financial transactions uncovered. Federal prosecutors say Hastert was paying to cover up sexual misconduct with a student years ago at Yorkville High School.

* Follow along with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Just Me - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 9:36 am:

    I was starting to think probation was acceptable. Hastert has lost everything, absolutely everything, and given his age I didn’t think it worth the prison time. But then the Tribune pointed out today that he tried to convince the FBI that his victim was the criminal. So not only did Hastert victimize this poor teenager, but he tried to do it again just last year after the teen had grown up. How many times can this man ruin someone else’s life? Has he absolutely no shame?

    I don’t feel sorry for Hastert anymore, and I hope he gets serious prison time.

  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 9:40 am:

    What a surprise, John Kass, bright and early, front and center, to wallow in Hastert’s fall and his victims’ misery.

    Perhaps he’ll explain tomorrow how the all-powerful Combine couldn’t save Hastert from his fate.

  3. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 9:42 am:

    Whatever he gets… it ain’t enough. Creep.

  4. - Downstate - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 9:43 am:

    I don’t think I see his wife in the photos. Usually that card is played for sympathy.

    A complete aside - a pet peeve of mine is when people use a wheelchair, but don’t use the foot rests. Had an elderly relative that did that. I was convinced they were going to turn an ankle (or worse) when I was pushing them.

  5. - Stones - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 9:44 am:

    Stunning and sad at the same time. I can’t think of any comparable situation.

  6. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 9:44 am:

    Kass will find a way to make this Obama’s fault.

  7. - Amalia - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 9:46 am:

    the misery of the victims is the only concern and hoping this circus does not affect them. an abuser deserves whatever punishment he gets.

  8. - Belle - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 9:49 am:

    What a crazy life this guy has had: from Teacher to Congressman to Speaker of the House and now Perp.
    It seems impossible to feel sorry for him or his family. I wonder if they ever suspected his reality?

  9. - Dance Band on the Titanic - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 9:51 am:

    The wheelchair prop didn’t work too well for his fellow sexual predator Keith Farnham.

  10. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 9:53 am:

    I think the breach of contract suit Individual A filed against Hastert was a nice touch.

  11. - Bleh - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 9:53 am:

    One of the former leaders of the party of family values.

  12. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 9:59 am:

    –I think the breach of contract suit Individual A filed against Hastert was a nice touch.–

    Individual A might have something.

    According to reports, when the federales first got to Hastert, he claimed he was being extorted. The FBI taped Hastert and Individual A discussing payments, twice, and concluded Hastert was not being extorted.

    That could be some powerful evidence in a civil case.

  13. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:01 am:

    No mercy for him. He never showed any for those he abused as evidenced by accusing at least one of his victims of being the criminal.

  14. - IRJL - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:06 am:

    Among the many underlying issues is the irony that Hastert could have gotten away with all this entirely if he had only remembered that he too has a right to remain silent. He talked to the bank officials, he talked to the FBI, and guess what, they were smarter than him. Now he’s done. Forever. Regardless of what happens to him today.

  15. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:20 am:

    This is incredibly powerful testimony.

  16. - Jack Stephens - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:20 am:


    Agreed. But its not just that. Republicans are the party of “small guv-mint” except when it comes to your personal life, and the inordinate influence the Top 1% have on the political system (and Democrats are just as guilty).

    But its primarily Personal Liberty and Freedom that they need to regulate.

    See todays NY Times for an opinion on that.

  17. - @MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:21 am:

    “What a surprise, John Kass, bright and early, front and center, to wallow in Hastert’s fall and his victims’ misery. Perhaps he’ll explain tomorrow how the all-powerful Combine couldn’t save Hastert from his fate.”

    And speaking of Denny Hastert and the dread ‘Combine’:

    – MrJM

  18. - Amalia - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:22 am:

    wow. powerful testimony from the sister, and now the brother of Tom Cross?!? omg.

  19. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:23 am:

    @kerrylester - Scott Cross, brother of Tom Cross, identifies himself as a #Hastert abuse victim in open court. @dailyherald

    I’m stunned.

  20. - BBG Watch - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:24 am:

    One of the victims was Scott Cross, brother of House Republican Leader Tom Cross. WOW

  21. - In 630 - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:29 am:

    These statements are so powerful, even in tweeted lines from reporters. The ripples this causes in lives connected to victims. Imagine what Tom Cross must have felt when his brother told him last year.

  22. - d. spot - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:31 am:

    How would Shakespeare write this tragedy?

  23. - The Captain - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:32 am:

    My recollection is that when Tom Cross was raising money to win his bid for leadership Hastert played a key role helping with that fundraising. I always thought they were politically close. Today’s revelation is stunning.

  24. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:33 am:

    The ugliness of all of this is beyond words. Unfathomable. Beyond cruel. Mercy is elusive.

  25. - @MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:33 am:

    His older brother, Tom Cross, 57, of Oswego, is the former longtime Illinois House GOP leader. Tom Cross has credited Hastert with introducing him to political life and helping him ascend to public office.

    Hastert asked the former legislator earlier this year if he would write a letter of support for his sentencing, but Tom Cross by then was aware of his brother’s allegation and did not respond, according to sources.

    – MrJM

  26. - Adam Smith - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:36 am:

    This has been devastating to so many who trusted, supported and even admired Hastert. But I can only imagine how horrible this has been for Tom Cross.

  27. - Irishpirate - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:36 am:

    Prison is too easy for Hastert.

    Let him sit in that wheelchair in a public place daily for six months and let people walk by him silently.

  28. - Just Me - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:38 am:

    Any remaining sympathy I had for Dennis Hastert is now absolutely gone.

  29. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:39 am:

    Rich “I cannot imagine how Tom Cross must feel today. Denny Hastert was his mentor. And then he learns from his own brother that the political godfather allegedly molested him. Ugh.”

    Wonder if his guilt over what he did to his brother had anything to do with how tightly he took Tom under his wing. And can’t imagine the pain of his brother all those years as Hastert was closer and closer in their lives. UGH indeed.

  30. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:39 am:

    My heart is crushed by such a betrayal by Hastert and the complete and continued betrayal by thinking Hastert thinking his secret was safe, safe enough to ask Tom Cross for a letter, purposely thinking the abuse of Scott Cross would be a secret never to utter and use Tom Cross to save himself sickens me.

  31. - A guy - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:42 am:

    Sorry. Anon 10:33 was me. I’m sickened.

  32. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:48 am:

    ===Any remaining sympathy I had for Dennis Hastert is now absolutely gone.===

    A month ago it was revealed there were at least four victims. Did you really need to know who they were before losing sympathy???

  33. - hisgirlfriday - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:50 am:

    So the brother of the former Illinois House GOP leader is giving testimony as a witness before the judge who is the brother of the current Illinois House GOP leader? Wow.

  34. - Amalia - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:50 am:

    monster. sad for entire Cross family.

  35. - @MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:55 am:

    His attorney says Hastert has “compartmentalized” and “put up a wall” in terms of his past wrongdoing.

    In other words, “My client has never, in any way, paid for his many crimes — not even as little as a guilty conscience.”

    – MrJM

  36. - illlinifan - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:55 am:

    How awful for the Cross family to now have the attorney actually say that Hastert would not have approached Tom Cross for a support letter if he had remembered the incident with Cross’s brother. Making this statement revictimizes and diminishes the brother….he didn’t remember who he abused!!!!!! How many others were abused? If only a few incidents he should be able to remember the names, or were these just bodies who were not persons to him????

  37. - A Modest Proposal - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:56 am:

    What a POS. He’ll have a special spot in hell.

  38. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:58 am:

    For those who thought or stated that Hastert’s “secret” was widely known in Kendall County before this chain of events, I don’t think so now. Tom Cross’ bro? They are saying “Say it isn’t so” while guts are wrenching. Not that it makes anything better, but it would be more just if others besides Individual A got compensated somehow.

  39. - Amalia - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:58 am:

    mistreated….no SEXUALLY ABUSED. monster.

  40. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 10:58 am:

    “Mistreated?” Mistreated? No Denny, you sexually abused vulnerable boys. You still don’t get it. No sympathy.

  41. - Amalia - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:00 am:

    apology to his family and the court greater than that to the victims. monster.

  42. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:01 am:

    That Scott Cross is one brave son-of-a-gun.

    After all these years, I can only imagine the load got heavier every day, given the circumstances.

    He could have carried that secret to his grave. But what redemption today. What a lifeline, a ray of hope, to the victims everywhere who remain silent.

  43. - The Muse - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:04 am:

    “That wasn’t a different situation.” He’s just coming off as not having any remorse. The 5-year max is coming off as appropriate at this point.

  44. - titan - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:05 am:

    I’m a little on this. From what’s come out, Hastert was something of a monster (preying on school kids from a position of authority) and IF he was charged and convicted of that, locking him up and throwing away the key would be entirely appropriate. But he the crime at issue here is a violation of banking laws, and I do think it troublesome that he may end up being, in effect, sentenced for the crimes he wasn’t convicted of. Some might be fine with that in this particular case, but in other contexts I think they would take the opposite position - for example, a former violent gang member much later gets charged with a minor misdemeanor. Should he be sentenced on the merits of the misdemeanor, of should the sentence be amped way up for past crimes that were never charged and convicted?

  45. - hisgirlfriday - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:05 am:

    @illinifan - agreed. makes one wonder how many other victims are out there. hopefully it all ended when he stopped being a wrestling coach but the mind reels thinking how he still had access to teens in the house page program.

  46. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:10 am:

    Hastert is gonna get COACHED.

  47. - Mouthy - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:11 am:

    Give the sexual predator child molester the max.

  48. - @MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:11 am:

    “The defendant is a serial child molester.”

    Hastert grotesquely abused his power over those children — and then spent his entire life in pursuit of more power over more people.

    – MrJM

  49. - illlinifan - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:13 am:

    And Hastert negotiated deals for congressional abusers while he was Speaker!!!!!

  50. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:27 am:

    Judge Durkin hammering away, “serial child molester” and the framing of Individual A, with Hastert doing what the victims feared “who will believe me over him”… and Hastert pretending this extortion occurred proved the victims fears well after the abuse were founded.

    Incarceration will not be enough.

  51. - In 630 - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:29 am:

    Titan- the crimes go beyond structuring, and his abuse is the reason for his financial crimes, as the judge is saying. They are unavoidably linked.

  52. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:29 am:

    –Judge Durkin: “Accusing ‘Victim A’ of extortion was unconscionable”–

    The minds of these predators… makes the blood run cold.

    It’s been mentioned by others, but I wonder if we’ll hear more in the future about the House Page scandal when Hastert was Speaker.

    There’s no reason to believe that Speaker Hastert conducted his “investigation” in good faith.

  53. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:30 am:

    … Thankfully, the FBI found to truth. Victims are believed.

  54. - Mouthy - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:31 am:

    No jail time. Judge let him off easy, real easy. What a joke.

  55. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:37 am:

    I think it’s time to re-visit the statute of limitations for child molestation

  56. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:45 am:

    You must be a psychic Mouthy. Or a CNN viewer.

  57. - Belle - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:45 am:

    Demoralized is right. We need to reconsider the statute of limitations of Child Molestation minimally.

  58. - Pops - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:45 am:

    Another “proud to be an Illinoisian” day.

  59. - illlinifan - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:47 am:

    Think about this as well, Scott had to hear during all these years his brother Tom’s admiration for Hastert, and see their close relationship and possibly even interact with Hastert in the community. What it must have been like to see Hastert rise to power while you try to cope with this? It really makes me ill to think about this and the break of trust with the public. I almost want to demand full investigation and background checks on people before they are even allowed to run for office, similar to what is done when people want to work in highly secure positions in the government. This may not prevent this stuff, but it will reassure the voter. I pray that the Hasterts of the world is not the tip of the ice berg in politics, but unfortunately we see it too often in the halls of congress.

  60. - Jake From Elwood - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:49 am:

    Scott Cross is a brave man. He was willing to step into the spotlight to testify with no promise of financial gain. He is so believable.
    Hastert will get more than five years of prison in my opinion.

  61. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:50 am:

    Scott Cross’ bravery today can not be understated.

  62. - Jake From Elwood - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:51 am:

    Or not.

  63. - MOON - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:51 am:

    The numerous child molestations done by Hastert are despicable and if the statues of limitation had not run they should “throw the book at Hastert”
    However what is before the court is Hastert’s lying to federal agents regarding the withdrawl of funds from his account that exceeded $10,000.

    I recognize lying to a federal agent is a crime but in my opinion it is none of the governments business whether an individual withdraws $10,000 or $100,000 from their account.

  64. - Jabes - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:52 am:

    Only 15 months, after all that?

  65. - Huh? - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:54 am:

    What a wasted legacy. Hastert’a obituary will lead off with this sad episode.

    Given the prison sentence, I expect that he will remain out on bond pending appeal of sentence.

  66. - In 630 - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:56 am:

    Guideline was for 6 months, judge went for 15. Not sure what max is, but seems like he went as hard as he could in the constriction he had.

  67. - Elo Kiddies - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:56 am:

    Does 15 months mean 7.5 months with good behavior?

  68. - BBG - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:57 am:

    I’m stunned! By all of it. Everything!

  69. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:58 am:

    85% is 12 months and about 2 additional weeks.

  70. - Cubs in '16 - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 11:59 am:

    The only real justice will occur if/when Hastert thinks about the victims and their families instead of himself, owns up to what he did, and offers sincere apologies. Who knows if he’s capable of this type of self-reflection?

  71. - Crispy - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:00 pm:

    Demoralized @11:37: agreed. One of his victims allegedly committed suicide in the ’90s after years of misery stemming from the abuse, according to his sister.

    Mouthy: not so. 15 months in jail, then supervised release afterwards. Not enough, but more than expected; seems like the judge hit him as hard as he could, given the current case facts & Hastert’s health.

  72. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:02 pm:

    Go here to debate the sentence

  73. - Mouthy - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:07 pm:

    I stand corrected..

  74. - island mon - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:08 pm:

    So Ryan does 6 yrs.
    Blago doing 15 yrs.

    And this dude (a Predator) who destroyed how many lives both victims and families gets 15 months, and folks wonder why people are upset in this country.
    Powerful people have different set of laws then us common folks.
    Our prisons are full of young folks doing more time than that for selling a little weed and crack
    to feed themselves and their families.
    Not right no way.

  75. - Wilson - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:09 pm:

    Hey Rich, can you or any of your readers put this sentence in perspective? What could max sentence have been? Like many, I tend to think this is a soft penalty but I have no legal background.

  76. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:10 pm:

    Well, if them that are without sin get to cast the first stone, we’ve got a lot of lily-pure folks posting on this site. Good for you all. Sorry I can’t say it applies to me, tho

  77. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:15 pm:

    –The only real justice will occur if/when Hastert thinks about the victims and their families instead of himself, owns up to what he did, and offers sincere apologies. Who knows if he’s capable of this type of self-reflection?–

    I won’t pretend to fathom the mind of a predator, but I don’t think self-reflection is part of the equation.

    Cunning and deception seem to be hard-wired.

    The guy pursued the heights of public office with his victims out there.

    If you’ll recall, Hastert got the Speaker’s chair after Newt and Livingston got ensnared in their hypocrisy over “infidelity” during the Clinton impeachment.

    Hastert got the gig because he was the White Knight, the safe choice, with no skeletons in the closet. That’s how he could sell it to the world, and the world believed him for a very long time.

    Again, it makes the blood run cold, how these predators can get away with it for so long. Scares me to death, their existence.

  78. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:18 pm:

    ===So Ryan does 6 yrs. Blago doing 15 yrs… Powerful people have different set of laws then us common folks.===

    You contradicted yourself there.

  79. - LizPhairTax - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:41 pm:

    Steve Schnorf, respectfully, I don’t understand your comment.

  80. - weltschmerz - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 12:51 pm:

    Nice touch adding the wheelchair and walker to the over sized suit and shirt. Too bad the “reporters” didn’t hear any of the rumors 10 years .

  81. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 1:04 pm:

    Don’t pedophiles often victimize family members? Has anyone talked to the sons and nephews?

  82. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 1:06 pm:

    –Well, if them that are without sin get to cast the first stone, we’ve got a lot of lily-pure folks posting on this site. Good for you all. Sorry I can’t say it applies to me, tho–

    Steve, I’m a sinner as well.

    But I’m not a serial child molester who lied to sic the FBI on one of my victims when I got heat decades after my underlying crimes.

    So, some perspective might be in order, even among us sinners.

  83. - A Modest Proposal - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 1:10 pm:

    ===steve schnorf
    Well, if them that are without sin get to cast the first stone, we’ve got a lot of lily-pure folks posting on this site. Good for you all. Sorry I can’t say it applies to me, tho===

    No one here claimed to be perfect. Being an imperfect person who occasionally make mistakes and a ’serial child molester’ are two very different things. I’m really confused by your comment.

  84. - jb - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 1:17 pm:

    Hopefully Hastert’s portrait will now be removed from the House of Representatives Chamber. It was removed from its prominent display but I think the House was going to wait to see how the case was going to play out before considering removing the portrait

  85. - Facts are Stubborn Things - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 1:18 pm:

    you reap what you sow.

  86. - Facts are Stubborn Things - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 1:21 pm:

    Come on Steve,

    the fact that none of us is perfect is no excuse for not punishing those that break the law. I am not personally judging Hastert, however, the criminal justice system has made a judgment and even though I am far from perfect it is my judgment that what he was found guilty of doing is wrong.

  87. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 1:27 pm:

    Mr. Schnorf, none of of is without sin. However, most of us are devoid of Hastert’s sin.

  88. - Shake - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 2:19 pm:

    Victims Have Strong Civil Case….

  89. - girlawyer - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 3:14 pm:

    Except civil cases have statutes of limitations too. Unlike the criminal ones, I don’t think those have been greatly changed and if the case had already expired, an ex post facto change wouldn’t save the case anyway.

  90. - Mama - Wednesday, Apr 27, 16 @ 5:03 pm:

    Only 15 months??? I bet he will be out in 2 -4 months. The 15 months sentence does not fit the crime. I would not be surprised if the man killed himself. I hope it doesn’t happen - - his family has more than enough pain to deal with.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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* IDPH Investigation Continues As Foodborne Illnesses Increase
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* White Sox Minor League Update: July 21, 2018
* Six Pack of Stats: White Sox 5, Mariners 0
* Jimenez, Rutherford in Saturday's top prospects
* Covey tosses gem, Leury robs HR in shutout
* Covey overthrows King Felix, 5-0
* Covey rebounds with scoreless gem vs. M's
* Moncada sets goal to reduce strikeouts

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