Sources Tell The LA Times That Dennis Hastert Paid To Conceal A Sex Crime

By now, you’ve probably heard that former House Speaker Dennis J. Hastert had been indicted on blackmail charges and is accused of shelling out over $1.7 million in hush money since 2010. According to the indictment, which was unsealed yesterday, Hastert is also accused of lying to the feds about the full amount of money — $3.5 million — he agreed to pay. For what, exactly, wasn’t clear, but today, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that two federal law enforcement officers told them that Hastert was being blackmailed over a “sexual abuse” incident that occurred when he was a teacher and wrestling coach in Yorkville, Illinois. The incident allegedly occurred before the conservative politician began his tenure in Congress and is unrelated to his time in office. Oh, and the alleged victim is male.

According to the LA Times:

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.

Yikes. While it’s certainly possible that the alleged victim was an adult, Hastert’s job as a teacher and coach at a high school at the time also make it sincerely possible a student was involved. The FBI has not yet confirmed the Los Angeles Times’ story, but Hastert, 73, was charged with both “structuring currency transactions to evade currency transaction reports” and “making a false statement to the FBI,” which carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. [LA Times]