Updated on April 27 at 2:05 p.m. ET
Describing the longest-serving Republican speaker of the House as a “serial child molester,” a federal judge in Chicago sentenced Dennis Hastert to 15 months in prison on Wednesday for lying to investigators and evading federal banking regulations as part of a scheme to cover up decades-old sexual abuse.
Judge Thomas Durkin also imposed two years’ supervised release, a $250,000 fine, and attendance in a sex-offender treatment program. Hastert faced five years in prison for the charges under federal sentencing guidelines. Prosecutors had requested a maximum of six months, while the former politician’s defense team asked for probation, citing his age, 74, and health woes.
Before entering politics, Hastert taught high school in Illinois and coached a wrestling team between 1965 and 1981. At least four members of the team have now accused him of sexually abusing them; one of them filed a lawsuit for $1.8 million in compensation on Monday.
The court heard stunning testimony during the hearing from Scott Cross, previously known as “Individual D” in court filings, before the judge handed down his sentence. Cross testified publicly for the first time that Hastert molested him decades earlier as a teenager. “As a 17 year old boy, I was devastated,” he told the court. “I felt intense pain, shame, and guilt.”