(CBS) – Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert on Saturday broadly conceded past “transgressions” and apologized, in a statement issued by a law firm.
The two-paragraph statement from Sidley Austin LLP follows a court filing Friday in which federal prosecutors outlined Hastert’s alleged sexual abuse of multiple teen boys when he was a wrestling coach at Yorkville High School. One of the incidents led to Hastert’s recent and swift downfall: his efforts to pay $3.5 million in hush money while skirting banking disclosure laws.
Hastert is scheduled to be sentenced April 27 and has asked for probation. Prosecutors say the judge should consider sentencing Hastert, now 74 and retired and in bad health, to up to six months in prison because of the underlying sex abuse related to the financial crime at the center of the case.
“Mr. Hastert acknowledges that as a young man he committed transgressions for which he is profoundly sorry. He earnestly apologizes to his former students, family, friends, previous constituents and all others affected by the harm his actions have caused,” the statement attributed to attorney Thomas Green says.
It concludes: “As stated in our sentencing memorandum, we note that for the last four decades he has made every effort to be a positive force in the lives of others. We also advised the Court that the profound humiliation and public shaming Mr. Hastert has and will continue to experience, coupled with the resulting isolation and abandonment he has endured, are already significant punishment and have undoubtedly contributed to his fragile medical condition. He accepts responsibility for his conduct, seeks no special consideration, and is prepared to receive the Court’s sentence.”
CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller says a confession and apology in front of a judge could be Hastert’s only chance at avoiding jail time.
“This is not what I would call a complete apology,” Miller said. “He can’t talk about transgressions. That’s a word for lawyers. He needs to get up there and say why he’s sorry.”
The details were laid out by prosecutors Friday in a 26 page memo.
Prosecutors point to at least 5 victims they believe were sexually abused by Dennis Hastert during his time as a wrestling coach at Yorkville High School
One alleged victim says he was abused by Hastert during a wrestling trip in a motel room.
A sister of one of the alleged victims who has since passed away is speaking out after Hastert’s apology.
“I’d like to hear him say the words, because he’s, he’s still not saying what actually happened,” said Jolene Burdge. “I don’t know if he’s really sorry that he did it or if he’s just sorry he got caught.”