Former speaker of the U.S. House Dennis Hastert will soon be spending time behind bars.
Federal Judge Thomas Durkin sentenced the 74-year-old Hastert to 15 months in prison. The prison time is more than double what prosecutors requested.
Hastert pleaded guilty to a financial crime related to accusations he sexually abused teen wrestlers while he was a coach at Yorkville High School in Illinois decades ago.
Hastert sat with his head down for most of the sentencing hearing in Chicago. He admitted to sexually abusing one of the victims.
Legal analyst Joseph Lopez said the admission was the turning point in the hearing.
“I think that was the turning point of the day,” Lopez said. “I think the judge was going to give him a significantly larger sentence if he didn’t make that admission.”
Barbara Blaine, president of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said she’s pleased by Judge Durkin’s sentence.
Judge Durkin said letters he received, both positive and negative, toward Hastert were taken into account in his sentencing. One of those letters he mentioned was Barbara Blaine’s.
“I was really grateful to know that the judge read my letter and then to know that he had taken it to heart,” Blaine said.
Hastert will serve his sentence at a Federal Bureau of Prisons Level 4 facility. Lopez said the judge took Hastert’s ailing health into consideration.
“The judge did the extra homework to make sure when he sends this man to prison, he’s not going to die there, he didn’t want a death sentence,” Lopez said.
No surrender date has been set for Hastert. Hastert is expected to serve his time in Rochester, Minnesota.
(Copyright WBGZ / www.AltonDailyNews.com)
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