Highlights of what was said at Dennis Hastert’s sentencing
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert leaves the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse after being sentenced to 15 months in prison on April 27, 2016.(Zbigniew Bzdak, Chicago Tribune)
Former U.S. Speaker Dennis Hastert reports to the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minn., on Wednesday, June 22, 2016, in a to serve a 15-month sentence. His wife Jean is at left.(Andrew Link / Rochester Post-Bulletin)
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert leaves the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse after his sentencing on April 27, 2016. He received 15 months in prison for illegally structuring $1.7 million in bank withdrawals, which he used as hush money to cover up sexual abuse from decades ago.(Antonio Prerez / Chicago Tribune)
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert leaves federal court after being sentenced to 15 months in prison on April 27, 2016.(Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon speaks to the news media after the Dennis Hastert’s sentencing on April 27, 2016, at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse.(Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune)
Scott Cross, left, wears a hat reading “Speaker Hastert” as he and others wait on Jan. 5, 1999, for new U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert to arrive at a reception at the Cannon Building in Washington, D.C. The event was sponsored by the Illinois State Society. Guests included then-Gov. George Ryan, former Gov. Jim Edgar, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Commerce Secretary Bill Daley.(Lake County News-Sun)
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert leaves Dirksen U.S. Courthouse after being sentenced to 15 months in prison on April 27, 2016.(Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
A member of security sets up a barricade before former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert arrives to be sentenced at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse on April 27, 2016, in Chicago. Hastert was later sentenced to 15 months in prison.(Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
A news helicopter hovers near a building while waiting for former House Speaker Dennis Hastert to leave the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse on April 27, 2016, in Chicago.(Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert enters the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago for sentencing on April 27, 2016.(Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune)
Yorkville High School student Scott Cross wins a wrestling match, as pictured in a Yorkville High School yearbook.(Yorkville High School yearbook)
Scott Cross in a 1980 senior yearbook photo. Cross identified himself as Individual D during former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s sentencing hearing on April 27, 2016.(Yorkville High School yearbook)
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert is wheeled through a column of news media and security as he arrives at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago for sentencing on April 27, 2016.(Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune)
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert arrives for his sentencing in a wheelchair and passes by the news media at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago on April 27, 2016.(Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune)
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert arrives to be sentenced at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse on April 27, 2016, in Chicago.(Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert emerges from his vehicle into a wheelchair as he arrives April 27, 2016, at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago for his sentencing.(Nancy Stone / Chicago Tribune)
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert arrives at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago for sentencing April 27, 2016.(Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune)
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert arrives to be sentenced in federal court at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse on April 27, 2016, in Chicago.(Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert emerges from his vehicle as he arrives to the Dirkesen U.S. Courthouse for sentencing on April 27, 2016, in Chicago.(Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert arrives for sentencing at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago on April 27, 2016.(Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune)
A Cadillac Escalade departs former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s home in Plano about 5:15 a.m. on April 27, 2016. Hastert is scheduled to be sentenced at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago later in the morning.(Mike Mantucca / Chicago Tribune)
Jolene Burdge, sister of a Hastert sex abuse victim:
“If ever given the chance, I would confront you face to face and make you accountable for sexually molesting my brother. Twenty years ago you treated me like an insignificant annoyance, but I knew your secret and you couldn’t bribe or intimidate your way out. Now I stand here 20 years later with the truth on my side. I hope I have been your worst nightmare.
“Don’t be a coward, Mr. Hastert. Tell the truth. What you did wasn’t misconduct; it was sexual abuse of a minor. Call it what it is. Show us that honesty, integrity and decency that you and all your supporters claim you live by.
“Today is a tribute to Steve for all he endured and all he held inside his entire life. I know he stands here with me today, free and at peace. I will accept and respect whatever decision this court makes today. Our victory is knowing that this man is finally being brought to justice and will live in his own prison for the rest of his life.”
“A few years after we moved to Yorkville, when I was about 13 years old, Coach Hastert’s high school wrestling team won the Illinois state championship. For a small town like Yorkville, this was a very significant event. Coach Hastert was revered in Yorkville, and after the state championship, there was even a parade throughout the town, celebrating him and the team.
“As a young boy, I wanted to be part of what Coach Hastert had created. I was a small guy with a lot of ambition, and wrestling seemed to be the perfect sport for me. I jumped in with both feet, and wrestling became very important to me. My perception of myself as a wrestler dominated my high school experience.
“As a high school wrestler, I looked up to Coach Hastert. He was a key figure in my life as a coach and a teacher. In a small town where the high school and high school athletics were extremely important, I respected and trusted Coach Hastert.
“As a 17-year-old boy, I was devastated. I tried to figure out why Coach Hastert had singled me out. I felt very alone and tremendously embarrassed. I felt intense pain, shame and guilt. Today I understand that I did nothing to bring this on, but at age 17, I could not understand what happened or why.
“Given these challenges, you might be asking me why I came forward today. This decision to appear before you in this very public setting has been a huge personal struggle. In fact, until I actually got up to this podium, I was not even sure I would be able to bring myself to speak to you in this courtroom.
”...I want my children and anyone else who was ever treated the way I was to know that there’s an alternative to staying silent. As deeply painful as it has been to discuss this with my family and with you, staying silent for years was worse. It is important to tell
the truth finally about ... what happened to me. I could no longer remain silent.”
U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon addressed the news media after former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert was sentenced to 15 months in prison on April 27, 2016. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)
“I’m deeply ashamed to be standing here before you today. I am the one solely responsible for being here. I know I am here because I mistreated some of my athletes that I coached and because I structured withdrawals from the bank in the hope of keeping the mistreatment hidden, and also I misled the FBI in 2015 about what happened in the past.
“For 11 months, I have been struggling to come to terms with events that occurred almost four decades ago. I have more work to do in that regard. But I also committed to doing it and doing it with the help of professionals. I am now working to regain my health back.
“The thing I want to do today is say I’m sorry to those I have hurt and misled. First, I wanted to apologize for the boys I mistreated when I was their coach. What I did was wrong, and I regret it. They looked to me, and I took advantage of them. Today I accept what Ms. Burdge and Mr. Cross have said, and I apologize to them and to their families.
“I also want to apologize to the government for misleading them in my interviews in December 2014 and February of 2015. Federal agencies I deeply respect were misled by me. This alone is a source of great shame for me.”
Hastert: I — I don’t remember doing that, but I accept the statement.
Judge: And how about Mr. Reinboldt? Did you sexually abuse him?
Hastert: It was a different situation, sir.
Judge: If you want to elaborate, this is the time to do it.
(Hastert confers with his lawyer)
Hastert: I — I would accept Ms. Burdge’s statement.
Judge: So you did sexually abuse him?
“Accusing Victim A of extorting you was unconscionable. You tried to set him up. You tried to frame him. Because you told the FBI that Victim A was falsely accusing you of child molestation, the government pulled Victim A’s bank records, put a pen register on his phone lines, pulled toll records, pulled phone records, surveilled him and pulled bank records of his family.
“The full weight of the federal government’s investigative resources were thrown at him. You caused that; no one else did. And he didn’t deserve it. He was a victim once decades ago, and you tried to make him a victim again.
“Some actions can obliterate a lifetime of good works. Nothing is more stunning than having the words ‘serial child molester’ and ‘Speaker of the House’ in the same sentence. Nothing is more disturbing than having the words ‘child molester’ and ‘coach’ and ‘teacher’ in the same sentence. Both sentences are true.
“Parents are going to think twice about the safety of their children with teachers and coaches because if Denny Hastert, Speaker of the House, everybody’s friend, everyman, could do it, then anyone could do it.
“But because the statute of limitations for your child molestation ran out many years ago, you can’t be charged for that. And I can’t sentence you as a child molester. It’s not what you were charged with, it’s not what you’ve pled guilty to, and any sentence I give you today will pale in comparison to what you would have faced in state court.
“But this conduct is relevant to your history and characteristics no matter how old it is. Some conduct is unforgivable no matter how old it is. If the juvenile victim of sex abuse can’t forget decades later what happened, then neither can I as a judge nor can we as a society. The abuse was 40 years ago, but the damage lasts today. Mr. Cross made that clear.
“And, Ms. Burdge, people will now believe you. I believe you. And through you, I believe your brother. He was tragically sexually abused by the defendant just like Victims A, B, C, and Mr. Cross. I hope this proceeding today brought you some amount of solace, despite these incredibly sad facts.
“How difficult it must have been for years to hide these secrets. The defendant must have known that someday these victims would come forward. But that difficulty pales in comparison to the difficulty of the abuse victims themselves living with these secrets, knowing that people would not believe them, that people would hold them up to public scorn, that anyone who came forward would no longer just have the pain of being sexually abused, they’d have the pain of knowing no one believed them. Now people believe them.
“Nothing today gave me any pleasure at all. This is a horrible case, a horrible set of circumstances, horrible for the defendant, horrible for the victims, horrible for our country. I hope I never have to see a case like this again.”
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