Former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert paid $1.7 million over the last four years to conceal sexual abuse against a former male student he knew as a teacher in Yorkville, Il., where he worked until 1981, federal law enforcement officials told the Los Angeles Times. Investigators spoke with a second man who raised similar allegations that corroborated what the former student said. The second person was not being paid by Hastert. The disclosures followed the federal indictment against Hastert on charges of lying to the FBI about the reasons for large cash withdrawals he is accused of making to buy the man’s silence.
“It goes back a long way, back to then,” a second official said. “It has nothing to do with public corruption or a corruption scandal. Or to his time in office…It was sex.” It was another sex scandal that led to Hastert’s improbable rise to become House speaker. He was plucked from a junior GOP leadership position in 1998 after Republicans ousted Newt Gingrich following a poor midterm election showing and then Gingrich’s presumed successor, Rep. Bob Livingston of Louisiana, admitted to an extramarital affair and turned down the post.