Indicted former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert was paying an individual from his past to conceal sexual misconduct with another man, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
The indictment against Hastert accuses the Republican of agreeing to pay $3.5 million in hush money to keep a person from the town where he was a longtime schoolteacher silent about “prior misconduct.”
One of the officials, who would not speak publicly about the federal charges in Chicago, said “Individual A,” as the person is described in Thursday’s federal indictment, was a man and that the alleged misconduct was unrelated to Hastert’s tenure in Congress.
The actions date to Hastert’s time as a Yorkville, Ill., high school wrestling coach and teacher, the official said.
Asked why Hastert was making the payments, the official said it was to conceal Hastert’s past relationship with the male. “It was sex,” the source said. The other official confirmed that the misconduct involved sexual abuse.
Hastert was a high school teacher and coach from 1965 to 1981 in suburban Yorkville, west of Chicago.
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The indictment says “Individual A” has been a resident of Yorkville and has known Hastert for most of Individual A’s life, but it does not describe their relationship.
Article continues belowHastert was a little-known lawmaker from suburban Chicago when chosen to succeed conservative Newt Gingrich as speaker. Hastert was picked after favored Louisiana Rep. Bob Livingston resigned following his admission of several sexual affairs.
The indictment charges the 73-year-old with one count of evading bank regulations by withdrawing $952,000 in increments of less than $10,000 to skirt reporting requirements.
He also is charged with one count of lying to the FBI about the reason for the unusual withdrawals.
Each count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Hastert has yet to comment or make a statement. He resigned Thursday from the law firm of Dickstein Shapiro, where he’s been a lobbyist since 2008.