Disgraced former Congressman Dennis Hastert spent millions of dollars trying to cover up allegedly molesting at least five students during his time as a high school teacher and wrestling coach. Hastert, who pleaded guilty to bank fraud, will never be tried for the sex crimes—the Illinois statute of limitations expired long ago—but both the FBI and the Chicago Tribune say they’ve verified most of the claims.
In his defense, 60 people—including several elected officials—have submitted letters to the court asking for leniency for the 74-year-old, who could get up to six months in prison under the terms of his plea deal.
“I know his heart and have seen it up close and personal. We all have our flaws but Dennis Hastert has very few. He is a good man that loves the Lord. He gets his integrity and values from Him. He doesn’t deserve what he is going through.” - Former Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX)
“I always admired him for his down-to-earth manner and style of leadership. I always believed him to be a man of high moral character and one in whom I had a high level of trust.” - Former U.S. Congressman John T. Doolittle (R-CA)
“Dennis Hastert is my friend and he has done many great things for countless individuals and our nation.” - Former U.S. Congressman David Dreier (R-MO)
“I know him as a man of faith, integrity and honesty.” - Former U.S. Congressman Thomas W. Ewing (R-IL)
“I know many viewed him as ‘Mr. Main Street, America’—a rock solid guy with center of the country values.” - Former CIA Director Porter J. Goss
“Dennis Hastert was the best kind of public official.” - Former Illinois State Sen. Doris C. Karpiel (R)
“Words cannot adequately describe my utmost respect for Mr. Hastert (as I have called him Denny) for his sincerity of caring for all people he had represented, the integrity which he showed and his devotion for duty in his actions.” - Former Kendall County Sheriff Richard A. Randall
“When it was time for bed, Individual A went to defendant’s motel room.Earlier in the trip, Individual A had complained about a groin pull. While in the motel room, defendant asked about Individual A’s injury and said he wanted to check on it. Defendant told Individual A to lie down on the bed and take off his underwear.Defendant then began massaging Individual A’s groin area. It became clear toIndividual A that defendant was not touching him in a therapeutic manner to address a wrestling injury but was touching him in an inappropriate sexual way. A few moments later, Individual A jumped off the bed, grabbed his underwear, and ran across the room to slouch in a chair. Individual A was confused and embarrassed about his physical reaction to defendant’s contact with him, and he apologized to defendant.” - The FBI
Hastert will be sentenced tomorrow in federal court.