Ex-US House Speaker Dennis Hastert starts prison term

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) on Wednesday reported to a Minnesota prison to serve his 15-month sentence, the Associated Press reported.

U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin recommended the Rochester Federal Medical Center for the ailing Hastert during sentencing on April 27.

High-level politicians going to prison is nothing new in Illinois: The long list of convicted politicians from the state includes former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is serving a 14-year sentence for multiple corruption convictions, among them trying to sell President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat. The congressman-turned-high-paid lobbyist could end up mopping floors or doing yardwork for as little as 25 cents an hour.

"[As part of a deal with federal prosecutors, ] Hastert pleaded guilty in October to illegally structuring bank withdrawals to evade reporting rules for large transactions".

He'll also have to undergo sex-offender treatment, which likely includes a lie-detector test to determine how many times Hastert sexually abused kids and over what period of time. The case revealed Hastert had abused at least four boys at Yorkville High School more than 35 years ago.

The same prison has held other disgraced politicians, including Dan Rostenkowski, a Democrat and a powerful U.S. House member from IL who pleaded guilty to mail fraud in the 1990s.

But Scott Cross, who said he was abused by Hastert when he was a teen, said Hastert's actions scarred him. He is not facing sexual abuse charges because the statutes of limitation have expired. And Hastert admitted in court that he sexually molested former students of his and that his transferred cash was hush money to keep his victims quiet.

Hastert was convicted of financial crimes related to the sexual abuse of wrestlers he coached in the 60s and 70s, and given a 15 month sentence.

"Nothing is more disturbing than having serial child molester and speaker of the House in the same sentence", Durkin said.

It isn't known whether Hastert traveled the more than 300 miles from his home in Plano, Illinois, by vehicle or plane.

Dan Rostenkowski, a powerful U.S. House member from IL who pleaded guilty to mail fraud in the 1990s, spent time at Rochester. Once released, he'll have two years' supervised release.



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