CHICAGO (CBS) — Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hasert has left a federal prison in Minnesota, and has been moved to Chicago to complete his sentence for breaking banking laws to cover up hush money payments to hide his acts of child sex abuse.
Hastert, 75, was sentenced to 15 months in prison last year, and reported to Rochester Federal Medical Center in Minnesota last June. According to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons website, Hastert has been moved to the Residential Reentry Management field office in Chicago, likely meaning he will be moved to a halfway house or home confinement for the last weeks of his time in custody.
At his sentencing hearing in April 2016, Hastert admitted molesting boys decades ago when he was a teacher and wrestling coach in Yorkville.
It was Hastert’s attempts to secretly pay off one of his victims that tripped a wire with the feds, who began investigating him after the once-powerful pol began making large bank withdrawals.
Technically, Hastert was brought down for violating federal banking laws, but the case was overshadowed by Hastert’s crimes against young athletes, years after the statute of limitations had expired. The federal judge who sentenced Hastert called him a “serial child molester.”
Hastert, 75, has struggled with his health. He was in a wheelchair when he faced a federal judge for sentencing, and when he reported to prison last year, factors likely to influence the Bureau of Prisons’ decision on where he will complete his term in custody.
“He’s going to have to report to the community center here. The only question is if he’s going to go into the Salvation Army and sleep there, or are they going to release him, and let him go home, and mointior him at his home. I suspect, because of his physical issues, if they keep him, it’s going to be a very short period of time. They’re going to send him home,” CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller said.
In addition to the prison sentence, Hastert was 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.
His official release date has been set for Aug. 16.
Hastert still faces a civil case. The victim Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million to keep silent has said Hastert still owes him money. Hastert paid $1.7 million, and has said he should get that money back, claiming the victim broke their agreement. Hastert’s attorneys also have said the verbal agreement is not enforceable.