Ex-House Speaker starts prison term
Former house speaker
begins 15-month prison term
Former United States House Speaker Dennis Hastert arrived at a Minnesota prison yesterday to serve his 15-month sentence in a hush-money case involving revelations that the Illinois Republican sexually abused at least four boys when he coached wrestling at an Illinois high school.
The wheelchair-bound 74-year-old Hastert arrived around noon at the Rochester Federal Medical Center, partly wheeling himself into the complex between high, razor-wire fencing. A woman followed behind him, carrying crutches.
Hastert - one of the highest-ranking US politicians to go to prison - will be known at the prison as Inmate No. 47991-424.
At sentencing in April, US District Judge Thomas M. Durkin cited the abuse that dated back more than 35 years and branded Hastert "a serial child molester" in imposing
a sentence that went beyond federal guidelines, which recommended no more than six months behind bars.
STATUTE OF LIMITATION
Hastert was not charged with child abuse because statutes of limitation ran out. He coached at Yorkville High School from 1965 to 1981. Instead, Hastert was charged with and pleaded guilty to violating banking law in trying to pay $3.5 million in hush money to one victim referred to in court papers only as 'Individual A'.
The nation's longest-serving GOP speaker, who for eight years was second in the line of succession to the presidency, will be subject to the same protocol as other new federal inmates, which typically includes a full-body strip-search.
Hastert must serve at least 85 per cent of his sentence, or just over a year.