Published: Wed, July 19, 2017
World News | By Cecilia Wilkerson

Former House speaker Hastert released from prison

Former House speaker Hastert released from prison

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hasert has left a federal prison in Minnesota, and has been moved to Chicago to complete his sentence for breaking banking laws to cover up hush money payments to hide his acts of child sex abuse.

Hastert told prosecutors he paid Individual A about half of a $3.5 million off-the-books agreement to keep quiet about the abuse. Then, during his sentencing hearing in April 2016, he admitted to the judge that he sexually abused children in the 1970s while he was a wrestling coach at Yorkville High School.

Hastert, 75, pleaded guilty to illegal structuring of bank withdrawals as part of an effort to circumvent federal banking laws as he went about paying off someone identified in court as "Individual A" for abuse that occurred more than 30 years ago during his years as a teacher and coach in Yorkville, Ill.

But the case was overshadowed by Hastert's crimes against young athletes, years after the statute of limitations had expired.

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His official release date has been set for August 16.

Bureau of Prisons online records show the former Speaker is now under the supervision of a Chicago residential re-entry management field office.

The feds hit Hastert in May 2015 with a blockbuster indictment that accused him of illegally structuring bank withdrawals and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Widely known as the longest-serving Republican House speaker, Hastert also now has the dubious distinction of being the only House speaker sentenced to federal prison in a criminal case, congressional historians have said.

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Hastert's attorneys declined comment Tuesday.

Hastert previous year become one of the highest-ranking American politicians ever sentenced to prison. "They looked to me, and I took advantage of them". But he says federal authorities "got him on what they could".

The Rochester prison where Hastert had been housed is affiliated with the nearby Mayo Clinic, with doctors and nurses on site providing high-level medical services to the approximately 700 male inmates assigned there who need long-term physical and mental health care.

Cross, a former wrestler, testified that he was abused when he was in the school locker room.

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The former speaker served 20 years in Congress and eight years as the highest-ranking member of the House before retiring in 2007.

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