Former House speaker Dennis Hastert reported to prison in Minnesota on Wednesday to begin serving a 15-month sentence in a case involving millions in hush money paid to cover up his sexual abuse of teenage students 30 years ago.
Hastert, 74, partially wheeled himself into the Rochester Federal Medical Center complex, which is surrounded by high, razor-wire fencing. A woman followed behind him, carrying crutches.
As a diabetic who suffered a stroke last year, the former congressman will serve his sentence in the medical center prison in Minnesota that handles inmates requiring specialized or long-term medical or mental health care.
Hastert was sentenced in April in Chicago by federal Judge Thomas Durkin who called him a “serial child molester” for sexually abusing at least four boys when he was a wrestling coach at Yorkville high school in Illinois.
He was convicted of evading banking laws to cover up the payments to one of his victims. Prosecutors described the payments as something akin to an out-of-court settlement, saying Individual A wanted to bring in lawyers and put the agreement in writing but that Hastert refused.
Hastert represented an Illinois district in Congress for 24 years, the last eight as Speaker of the House. He will be identified in prison as inmate 47991-424.
Hastert’s life will be highly regimented inside the prison, from frequent head counts to shakedown searches, the Associated Press reports. Physically able inmates must work from 7:40 a.m. to 3:30 a.m. The congressman-turned-high-paid-lobbyist could end up mopping floors or doing yard work for as little as 25 cents an hour.
Once freed, Hastert must spend two years on supervised release and undergo sex-offender treatment. A likely lie-detector test would seek to determine how many times Hastert sexually abused kids and over what time period.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Doug Stanglin