Hastert paid man $1.7 million to hide sexual abuse, federal official says

Dennis Hastert, then a Social Studies teacher, in a 1975 high school yearbook photo. Photo: Yorkville High School Yearbook via NBC.


Dennis Hastert, then a Social Studies teacher, in a 1975 high school yearbook photo. Photo: Yorkville High School Yearbook via NBC.

Dennis Hastert paid a man $1.7 million to keep quiet about having been sexually abused by Hastert while the victim was a student at the high school where Hastert once taught, says a federal law enforcement official.

The former Speaker of the House is accused of then lying to the FBI when asked about unusual cash withdrawals from several banks.

The official spoke to NBC News on condition of anonymity. Separately, Tribune newspapers report today that two unnamed federal officials said that Hastert paid a man from his past to conceal sexual misconduct.

Hastert is a lobbyist and member of the Republican Party, and was the 59th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, serving from 1999 to 2007.

The reported sexual abuse occurred when Hastert was a teacher and boy's wrestling coach at Yorkville High School, outside of Chicago, IL. Hastert is said to have paid the man $1.7 million of a total $3.5 million promised in hush money.

Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) speaks during a news conference in Batavia, Illinois in this October 5, 2006 file photo. Hastert was indicted on May 28, 2015 on federal charges including making false statements to the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago said.  REUTERS/John Gress


Former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) speaks during a news conference in Batavia, Illinois in this October 5, 2006 file photo. Hastert was indicted on May 28, 2015 on federal charges including making false statements to the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago said. REUTERS/John Gress

Asked why Hastert was making the payments, the official said it was to conceal Hastert’s past relationship with the male. “It was sex,’’ the source told reporters. The other official confirmed that the misconduct involved sexual abuse.

Neither Hastert nor any of his lobbying firm colleagues have commented on the allegations.

The Chicago Tribune had the first report out today on the new development in Hastert's downfall. More at the New York Times. You can read the full indictment here.

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