Hastert Sentenced to 15 Months in Prison

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Dennis Hastert, once one of the most powerful men in the country, was sentenced Wednesday to 15 months in prison.

This comes after a hush-money case centered on accusations that the former Speaker of the House sexually abused at least four students decades ago. Some of them were as young as 14 years old at the time.

Last year, Hastert pleaded guilty to breaking banking laws – making illegal withdrawals to pay one of the victims, “Individual A”, $3.5 million in hush money.

Prosecutors wanted to charge Hastert with a sex crime, but the statute of limitations ran out years ago. Defense attorneys hoped for probation. They cited the 74-year-old Republican’s failing health and said he has paid the price in public humiliation.

The hearing began around 10 a.m. Wednesday. One of Hastert’s alleged victims, referred to in court documents as “Individual D”, took the stand.

He identified himself as 53-year-old Scott Cross. He’s a suburban bank executive and brother of former Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross. Hastert was a mentor of Tom Cross and helped him get into politics.

ABC7 Eyewitness News doesn’t usually identify alleged victims sexual abuse. But in this case, the victim voluntarily stepped forward.

Cross testified Hastert sexually abused him during his senior year at Yorkville High School, in the fall of 1979. He was 17 years old.

For more on the case from WLS-TV, click here.

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