Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert abused at least four boys, prosecutors say

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Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert molested at least four boys over multiple decades, federal prosecutors alleged on Friday.


Hastert, the longest-serving Republican Speaker in history, had already pled guilty to using hush money to cover up abuse allegations, but Friday was the first time the government detailed the full nature of some of the charges against him in a filing for the judge overseeing Hastert's sentencing. The allegations stemmed from Hastert's time as a high school wrestling coach in Illinois between the 1960s and the 1980s.

Here's how the Associated Press described one of the allegations:

Prosecutors say in the filing that Hastert's known sexual acts against Individual A and other accusers consist of "intentional touching of minors' groin area and genitals or oral sex with a minor."

According to the document, Individual A told prosecutors the abuse occurred in a motel room on the way home from wrestling camp. Hastert, the only adult on the trip, told the 14-year-old that he would stay in his room while about a dozen other boys stayed in a different room. Individual A said Hastert touched him inappropriately after suggesting he would massage a groin injury the boy had.

Hastert's downfall began after federal agents questioned him about several suspiciously large bank withdrawals, as the Chicago Tribune recounted on Saturday:

[Hastert] claimed he was being extorted by a former student who said Hastert had sexually abused him decades earlier when he was a high school teacher and wrestling coach.

The agents took the former U.S. House speaker at his word. But when they listened in on two phone conversations between Hastert and the man supposedly pressuring him to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars, agents began to suspect the story was a lie.

What soon was apparent, according to an explosive document filed in the federal case against Hastert late Friday, was that instead of being forced to pay to keep false allegations from being spread, Hastert was paying to hide his sexual abuse of a 14-year-old boy.

Hastert is scheduled to be sentenced on April 27. His lawyers issued the following statement to CNN: