(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

Ex-House Speaker, accused sex offender Dennis Hastert released early from prison after 13 months

Dennis Hastert gets out early after serving 13 months for


Matthew Rozsa
July 19, 2017 4:53PM (UTC)

Dennis Hastert was once the Speaker of the House. From 1999 to 2007 — during the presidencies of both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — Hastert was second-in-line from the presidency, immediately behind Vice President Al Gore and his successor, Vice President Dick Cheney.

Now Hastert has been reduced to a wheelchair-bound registered sex offender, recently released from prison.

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After being released from a federal prison in Minnesota on Monday, Hastert was moved to a halfway house in Chicago, according to a report by The New York Times. His release occurred two months earlier than expected.

Hastert will serve the rest of his 15-month sentence at the halfway house. The erstwhile speaker was incarcerated after pleading guilty in 2015 to charges stemming from a case involving the withdrawal of $952,000 from a series of banks in over 106 transactions. Those funds went to an unidentified individual as — allegedly — hush money for the sexual abuse of teens while he was a high school wrestling coach between 1965 and 1981, ABC News noted.

Hastert didn't plead guilty to sexual abuse, perhaps because he couldn't be charged. As the Associated Press noted, by the time the revelations came to light, "the statutes of limitations had long since run out." The AP also wrote that Hastert is "not required to register as a sex offender."

The former Republican stalwart's plea deal will require him to "undergo intensive court-ordered sex-offender treatment designed to ensure he never again poses a risk to children," according to the AP.

One of Hastert's victims, Scott Cross, told CNN he was surprised to learn that Hastert had been released early.

Cross said, "I was a little surprised. I was a little, to be honest, a little disappointed in the sentence that was given out." He also argued that there should not be a statute of limitation for sexual crimes like the ones committed by Hastert.

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"It's more important that not just the state of Illinois change that — there's only been a handful of states," Cross said. "I hope by coming out and talking about this, other people have the courage to come out and speak out about this, whether it's him or somebody else out there."
Per ABC News, Cross "testified that he was abused when he was in the school locker room. Court filings describe how Hastert would also sit in a recliner in the high school locker room with a direct view of the showers."

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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