CHICAGO (CBS) — Former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert was paying a man to keep an abusive sexual relationship a secret, according to a report on the Chicago Tribune’s website.
The Tribune report quoted federal sources as saying the abuse occurred before Hastert entered politics, while the former Republican Illinois congressman was a teacher and coach at a Yorkville high school.
“It goes back a long way,” the source told the Tribune. Hastert entered politics in the early 1980s.
Yorkville Community Unit School District 115 employed Hastert from 1965-1981.
In a statement on Friday, the district said it “has no knowledge of Mr. Hastert’s alleged misconduct, nor has any individual contacted the District to report any such misconduct. If requested to do so, the District plans to cooperate fully with the U.S. Attorney’s investigation into this matter.”
On Thursday, Hastert, who served as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1999-2007, was indicted for allegedly trying to conceal large bank withdrawals, used to pay the individual for past “misconduct.”
The indictment did not specify the nature of the misconduct.
The unnamed individual, a resident of Hastert’s hometown of Yorkville, has known Hastert for most of his life. The alleged misconduct happened many years earlier, according to the indictment.
According to the indictment, in 2010, Hastert met with and then agreed to provide an unnamed individual $3.5 million “in order to compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against” that person, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago.
Hastert was charged with structuring the withdrawal of $952,000 in cash in order to evade the requirement that banks report cash transactions over $10,000, and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his withdrawals.
Hastert, 73, was charged with one count each of structuring currency transactions to evade Currency Transaction Reports and making a false statement to the FBI, according to an indictment returned by a federal grand jury.
From 2010 to 2014, Hastert withdrew a total of approximately $1.7 million in cash from various bank accounts and provided it to this person. The circumstances surrounding the payments, such as whether the cash was the equivalent of “hush money” for the misconduct, were not immediately known.
Initially, Hastert made 15 withdrawals in increments of $50,000 and paid the individual every six weeks.
Beginning in approximately July 2012, the banks started raising questions about the amount of the withdrawals, according to the indictment. Hastert then started structuring his cash withdrawals in increments of less than $10,000 to evade the filing of Currency Transaction Reports, which banks are required to file for cash withdrawals in excess of $10,000.
In 2014, Hastert altered the timing of the payments and provided $100,000 to the individual every three months, according to the indictment.