Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert on Wednesday admitted to sexually abusing teenage boys during his time as a high school wrestling coach in a Chicago suburb before his career as an elected official.
Hastert took the stand today and admitted that he’d “mistreated” some of his athletes.
“They looked to me, and I took advantage of them,” Hastert said as he awaited his sentencing after pleading guilty last fall to breaking federal banking laws in a hush-money case. “I apologize to the court and to the people of the United States.”
Judge Thomas Durkin sentenced Hastert to 15 months in prison, a $250,000 fine, along with two years of supervised release on the condition that he get sex offender treatment. Prosecutors had recommended a six-month sentence. Durkin called Hastert a “serial child molester” and said he must not contact any of his victims.
“That’s necessary to protect the victims,” the judge said.
One of the men who has accused Hastert of sexual abuse years ago identified himself in the courtroom Wednesday before Hastert spoke.
The man, previously known only as “Individual D,” identified himself as Scott Cross, 53, who lives in Chicago and works in finance. He has a wife and two children.
“Coach Hastert sexually abused me,” said Cross, who teared up at times as he identified himself publicly for the first time.
The allegations stem from the time Hastert worked as a wrestling coach at Yorkville High School in a Chicago suburb between 1965 and 1981.