News that former U.S. House Speaker Denny Hastert plans to plead guilty is not reassuring to a leading victims' advocate.
Hastert attracted attention by withdrawing large sums of cash, and court papers point to a desire to right a past wrong. He reportedly engineered a multi-million-dollar payoff to a victim of sexual abuse from Hastert's years as a teacher.
Keeping those details out of the public square is not right, says David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP).
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“He gets to continue to surround these allegations with secrecy, and that's not healthy for anybody involved,” says Clohessy. “In a lot of ways, it feels like a cop-out.”
Hastert, who represented the Aurora area in the U.S. House from 1987 to 2007 and was speaker for the last eight years of his career there, is to plead guilty in federal court in Chicago Oct. 28.