Updated 04/27/16 – 9:13 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Calling former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert a “serial child molester,” a federal judge has sentenced him to 15 months in prison for trying to skirt banking regulations to conceal hush money payments intended to cover up sex abuse allegations from the time he was a high school wrestling coach and teacher in Yorkville decades ago.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin handed down the sentence Wednesday. Federal law requires felony convicts to serve at least 85 percent of their sentence, meaning Hastert would be released from prison after approximately one year and three weeks behind bars.
In addition to the prison sentence, Hastert will be fined $250,000, and must serve two years of supervised release — the federal equivalent of parole — and must participate in a sex offender program after his release from custody.
“Nothing is more stunning than uttering serial child molester and Speaker of the House in the same sentence,” Durkin said.
The judge lamented that he could not sentence Hastert as a sex offender, because the statute of limitations has long since passed on Hastert’s abuse of teenage boys. He noted, if Hastert’s sex crimes had come to light when they occurred, he could have been convicted of sexual abuse and spent decades in prison.
“Some conduct is unforgivable no matter how old it is,” he said.
Durkin also blasted Hastert for lying to the FBI when he was questioned about the bank withdrawals, and trying to frame one of his victims, identified only as “Individual A,” for extortion.
Durkin said it was “unconscionable” for Hastert to tell the FBI that Individual A was extorting him with false allegations of sex abuse.
“You set him up,” Durkin said, adding that Individual A might have been forced to endure more suffering because Hastert tried to portray himself as a victim.
Hastert’s attorneys had asked Durkin to sentence him to probation only, but Durkin said that would not be appropriate.