Former House speaker Hastert released from prison

Posted July 19, 2017

Almost 13 months after checking in to a federal prison in Minnesota, former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has returned to Chicago under supervision to complete the remaining month of his sentence for breaking banking laws to hide his sexual abuse of teenage boys. The scandal stemmed from hush money he paid to hide sexual abuse he committed of students while he was a high school teacher and coach several decades ago.

Hastert, 75, pleaded guilty to illegal structuring of bank withdrawals as part of an effort to circumvent federal banking laws as he went about paying off someone identified in court as "Individual A" for abuse that occurred more than 30 years ago during his years as a teacher and coach in Yorkville, Ill.

Prosecutors provided details of abuse of at least five boys as young as 14 - in cases dating back decades for which the Republican politician can no longer be tried because the statutes of limitations have expired. But Politico notes that two men are suing him, alleging they were abused as kids.

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His official release date was slated for August 16.

Hastert's federal indictment was made public in May 2015, revealing the allegations of sexual assault. Hastert, who has diabetes, suffered a stroke before he started his prison sentence.

The reentry center, or halfway house, gives inmates who are near release assistance in a "safe, structured, supervised environment", according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.

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Hastert chose not to appeal his sentence and reported quietly to the Minnesota prison.

Hastert later filed a counterclaim seeking repayment of the $1.7 million.

Authorities began to doubt Hastert's claim and confronted Individual A. That's when Hastert's dark secrets began to spill out. Hastert has also admitted he sexually abused late Yorkville High School wrestling team manager Stephen Reinboldt.

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Hastert represented IL in the House of Representatives from 1987 to 2007, and was elected as the House speaker in 1999, replacing former Georgia Rep. Newt Gingrich.