Dennis Hastert: Longest serving GOP Speaker of the House, admtted child rapist; 15 months in prison

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by bent christian, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

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    J. Dennis Hastert, once among this nation’s most powerful politicians, was sentenced to 15 months in prison on Wednesday for illegally structuring bank transactions in an effort to cover up his sexual abuse of young members of a wrestling team he coached decades ago.

    Mr. Hastert, 74, who made an unlikely rise from beloved small-town wrestling coach in Illinois to speaker of the House in Washington, sat in a wheelchair in a federal courtroom here as a judge announced his fate.

    “The defendant is a serial child molester,” said Judge Thomas M. Durkin, of Federal District Court, in a tough rebuke of the former speaker before issuing his sentence. He added, “Nothing is more stunning than having ‘serial child molester’ and ‘Speaker of the House’ in the same sentence.”

    Pointing out the vulnerability of Mr. Hastert’s young victims, he said they were damaged for years.

    “If there’s a public shaming of the defendant because of the conduct he’s engaged in, so be it,” Judge Durkin said.

    Mr. Hastert has suffered a series of ailments in recent months including a stroke, a blood stream infection and a spinal infection.

    The judge noted: “There are no guarantees that the defendant won’t get sicker in prison. There are no guarantees that he won’t get sicker at home.”


    The felony count to which he had pleaded guilty carried a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and Mr. Hastert’s lawyers had sought probation. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors had said they would support a sentence of six months or less.

    The judge also imposed a $250,000 fine and said he would recommend that Mr. Hastert be sent to a prison hospital. “This is not meant to be a death sentence,” he said.

    The sentence followed Mr. Hastert’s admission that he had molested members of his wrestling team, and his apology for the harm that he caused them.

    “The thing I want to do today is say I’m sorry,” Mr. Hastert said.

    That followed the tearful statement by one of his victims, who described being sexually abused as he lay on a locker room training table decades ago.

    “As a high school wrestler I looked up to Coach Hastert — he was a key figure in my life,” the man, Scott Cross, now a 53-year-old businessman in Chicago, told a judge. Stopping once to compose himself, he said, “I felt intense pain, shame and guilt.”

    He said that he had gone years without speaking of what had happened, and that the experience had caused him lifelong trauma. “I’ve always felt that what Coach Hastert had done to me was my darkest secret,” he said, as Mr. Hastert looked on.

    Mr. Cross, is the brother of a former Illinois House Republican leader, Tom Cross. The sentencing judge, Mr. Durkin, is the brother of another prominent Republican lawmaker in Illinois, Jim Durkin.

    Mr. Hastert’s fall from genial retired House speaker and hometown celebrity on the far edge of Chicago’s western suburbs was sudden and steep.

    For decades, both in Washington and in Yorkville, where Mr. Hastert had coached the local high school wrestling team to state championship, he had a reputation for appearing down-to-earth and steady — with little hint of scandal.

    Mr. Hastert, who was first elected to Congress in 1986, found himself catapulted to speaker in 1999, in part, because he seemed to be a safe, agreeable option: The Republicans’ first choice, Robert L. Livingston of Louisiana, stepped away from the post even before he took it, acknowledging adulterous affairs in his past.

    Mr. Hastert grew up delivering feed for his family’s farm supply business, and held onto his plain-speaking style long after he left teaching and coaching for a life in the state legislature in Illinois and then in Washington, before he became a high-paid lobbyist. “I’ve always thought of myself as a kid from the cornfields,” Mr. Hastert wrote in his 2004 memoir, “Speaker: Lessons from Forty Years in Coaching and Politics.”

    Mr. Hastert never appeared to shy away from the wrestling world he had built in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s as a coach at Yorkville High School, continuing to advocate for the sport in Congress and to hire former student wrestlers as his aides and advisers.

    Yet it was a former student wrestler, prosecutors say, who eventually would lead to Mr. Hastert’s downfall after a series of revelations that left many — even Mr. Hastert’s onetime assistant wrestling coach — stunned. Some wondered how the allegations could be kept secret in such a small town for so long.

    Mr. Hastert was charged in May with lying to the F.B.I. and making cash withdrawals in a way designed to hide the fact that he was paying $3.5 million to a former wrestler for misconduct from years earlier. The former wrestler and family friend of Mr. Hastert, identified in documents as Individual A, told of abuse in a motel room during a wrestling camp trip when he was 14.

    Prosecutors said Individual A approached Mr. Hastert to talk about the incident years later, in about 2010, asking Mr. Hastert whether there had been other victims and whether he would pay Individual A for what he had done.

    After the payments began, federal authorities took notice of large, unexplained withdrawals Mr. Hastert was making from his bank. When told that large withdrawals had to be reported, Mr. Hastert began drawing smaller sums, prosecutors say, to avoid notice.

    Federal investigators approached Mr. Hastert in late 2014, inquiring about the many withdrawals — he had paid Individual A some $1.7 million by then — and Mr. Hastert said he simply did not trust banks and was keeping the money in a safe place. Not long after, Mr. Hastert’s lawyer contacted officials with a different story, prosecutors say: Mr. Hastert was the victim of extortion by Individual A for false molestation accusations, the lawyer said.

    But after recording conversations between Mr. Hastert and Individual A, the authorities concluded that there was no extortion. They found that Individual A had wanted to bring lawyers in to negotiate a formal settlement with Mr. Hastert, but that he had declined to involve anyone else.

    Prosecutors say Individual A was not the only student molested. At least three other men — all former members of the team, as young as 14 — said they, too, had been abused. The acts included “touching of minors’ groin area and genitals or oral sex with a minor,” prosecutors said. One man, Stephen Reinboldt, told his sister, Jolene Burdge, of repeated incidents of abuse, all through high school; he died in 1995.

    Mr. Hastert has not been charged with sexual abuse, and prosecutors said the reported incidents were beyond the statutes of limitation. Still, Mr. Hastert’s lawyers have said he was “deeply sorry and apologizes for his misconduct that occurred decades ago and the resulting harm he caused to others.”

    In the case of at least Mr. Cross, the former wrestler who testified on Wednesday, Mr. Hastert’s lawyers had said he does not contest the allegations, but that “in all candor he has no current recollection of the episode.”

    A long list of supporters — from Mr. Hastert’s wife Jean to Tom DeLay, the former House majority leader — sent letters of support for Mr. Hastert to Judge Durkin, who is the brother of a Republican state lawmaker in Illinois. “He doesn’t deserve what he is going through,” Mr. DeLay wrote.

    Other supporters included wrestling coaches, lawyers, former students and former law enforcement officials. Mr. Hastert’s brother, Dave, wrote that he feared Mr. Hastert would fall into depression, given his circumstances and the physical ailments that have left him in a wheelchair. “If it were me, I’d be wheeling that chair to the highway, and waiting for a semi,” his brother wrote.

    “By any measure, appearing before this court to receive its sentence will be the most difficult day in Mr. Hastert’s life,” his lawyers wrote in a memo to the judge. “Mr. Hastert’s fall from grace has been swift and devastating.”

    Prosecutors have argued that a sentence for Mr. Hastert must balance Mr. Hastert’s years of public service with a need to “avoid a public perception that the powerful are treated differently than ordinary citizens when facing sentencing for a serious crime.”

    Mr. Hastert’s history, the prosecutors have written, is “marred by stunning hypocrisy.”

    “While the defendant achieved great success, reaping all the benefits that went with it,’ they wrote, “these boys struggled, and all are still struggling now with what defendant did to them.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/28/us/dennis-hastert-sentencing.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur
     
  2. steve knight macrumors 68020

    steve knight

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    poor guy so persecuted. wonder if he used boys bathrooms? glad he got flushed and man he feels so sorry now. well that he got caught.
     
  3. BoxerGT2.5 macrumors 68000

    BoxerGT2.5

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    I'd let the jackass spend the rest of his life in prison. I don't care how old or decrepit he gets, he shouldn't see the light of day and I hope inmates get a chance to make him feel what he did to those kids. Scary to think we had a child molester 3rd in the line of succession.
     
  4. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    Calling my Congressman. We need a law against Republicans using bathrooms with our children.
     
  5. steve knight macrumors 68020

    steve knight

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    #5
    he will be in baby jail and be treated well.
     
  6. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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  7. Robisan macrumors 6502

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    #7
    So does Hastert still get to give the keynote address at the GOP convention this summer?
     
  8. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #8
    Key paragraph:
    He got fifteen months in prison for structuring bank withdrawals. Not for sexual abuse of minors. I don't find that particularly satisfying. Fifteen months in prison for withdrawing cash from your bank seems like overly harsh. Getting away with multiple counts of sexual abuse of minors seems way too lenient.

    The other question I have is this: How did a Congressman (even a House Speaker) end up with millions of dollars in cash in the first place?
     
  9. steve knight macrumors 68020

    steve knight

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    #9
    ya from prison it would not be the first time.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 27, 2016 ---
    I read they are working on how to get him for some of the sexual stuff in some way.
     
  10. bruinsrme macrumors 601

    bruinsrme

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    While you're at it, tell them in include barring Barnie, let's play hide the, Franks.
     
  11. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #11
    Unless he did it recently arn't the statute of limitations up?
     
  12. steve knight macrumors 68020

    steve knight

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    #12
    yes but they are working on a different way. can't remember what though.
     
  13. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    Yes, the judge could only sentence him on the money laundering.
     
  14. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    "It is important to have a national notification system to help safely recover children kidnapped by child predators," he said. "But it is equally important to stop those predators before they strike, to put repeat child molesters into jail for the rest of their lives and to help law enforcement with the tools they need to get the job done." - Dennis Hastert, 2003


    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/...stert-lawmaker-record-met-20160413-story.html
     
  15. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    #15
    What a joke sentence. As if we needed anymore proof that politically connected elites have a different justice system than the rest of the people.

    Didn't the dude from penn state get decades in jail for the same exact thing?
     
  16. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #16
    He was convicted pf child sex offenses, because the Statute of Limitations had not expired. Hastert was only convicted of a money-laundering related charge.
     
  17. HEK macrumors 68030

    HEK

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    #17
    You're kidding right, you think these guys are in congress to serve the people?
     
  18. steve knight macrumors 68020

    steve knight

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    #18
    sure corporations and the NRA are people right?
     
  19. HEK macrumors 68030

    HEK

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    #19
    When it comes to campaign donations the Supreme Court says they have same rights as people. Go figure....money and power corrupts.... Who knew.
     

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