The news that former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was indicated for illegally withdrawing large sums of money from his bank account was shocking enough. But now it turns out that the reason for the withdrawals is even more shocking. Apparently, Hastert, who was a teacher and wrestling coach before entering politics, has been paying hush money to a former male student who claims he was molested by Hastert.
The indictment against Hastert, a Republican, focused on a pattern that seemed designed to skirt federal requirements for reporting exceptionally large withdrawals. The indictment spoke only of Hastert seeking to pay an unnamed, genderless individual as recompense for “prior misconduct.” The indictment claimed that Hastert had agreed to pay “Individual A” the tidy sum of $3.5 million to keep his mouth shut.
While the full story has yet to come out, even the sketchiest information available is pretty juicy. “It was sex,” an unnamed official told the Los Angeles Times. Hastert was a teacher and coach at Yorkville High School in Illinois from 1965 to 1981. A second man, who did not seek payment from Hastert, apparently told investigators that he was sexually molested by Hastert as well.
The irony is that Hastert’s political career ended when he resigned from Congress in 2007 following a barrage of criticism for slow walking the investigation of fellow Republican Mark Foley for sexting with underage male pages. The news emerging now suggests that Hastert’s sympathy for Foley’s plight might have been personal than anyone could have imagined.
Photo credit: U.S. Congress