WASHINGTON, April 9 (UPI) — Federal prosecutors said former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert sexually abused at least four children while working as a wrestling coach in Illinois.
Court documents list four boys that Hastert allegedly abused in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. A fifth boy, who died in 1995, was also mentioned.
According to prosecutors, the “known acts” occurred while Hastert was working as a wrestling coach and involved inappropriately touching children and performing sex acts.
“The actions at the core of this case took place not on the defendant’s national public stage but in his private one-on-one encounters in an empty locker room and a motel room with minors that violated the special trust between those young boys and their coach,” the documents stated.
Prosecutors said Hastert gave one 14-year-old wrestler a massage in the locker room and performed an sex act on him. Another student athlete, who was 17 at the time, said Hastert sat in a recliner with a view of the locker room shower stalls.
The documents said Hastert asked at least one student athlete to strip naked while they were alone in a motel room so he could massage the boy’s injured groin area. The boy quickly realized Hastert “was not touching him in a therapeutic manner to address a wrestling injury.”
Hastert is scheduled for sentencing on April 27 for paying $3.5 million in hush-money to an alleged victim identified only as Individual A. He will not be charged with sexual abuse because the statute of limitation has expired.
The documents also stated prosecutors found there was “no ambiguity” in the abuse of Individual A and there was no extortion involved in the payments to Individual A. They said Individual A “did not make any threats” and seemed agreeable when Hastert asked for more time to make the payments.
Neither Hastert, 74, nor his lawyers commented on the molestation claims.
On Thursday Hastert said that he was “deeply sorry” for “misconduct that occurred decades ago” as hesought probation instead of jail time for paying off Individual A.