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Crime & Courts

AP: Hastert released from Minnesota prison

Former U.S. Speaker of the House transferred to Chicago facility

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert leaves the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago in April 2016 after being sentenced on charges he structured cash withdrawals to avoid bank reporting requirements. Prosecutors said Hastert did so in order to pay hush money to keep quiet sexual abuse he committed against teens when he taught and coached at Yorkville High School.
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert leaves the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago in April 2016 after being sentenced on charges he structured cash withdrawals to avoid bank reporting requirements. Prosecutors said Hastert did so in order to pay hush money to keep quiet sexual abuse he committed against teens when he taught and coached at Yorkville High School.

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert has been released from prison in Minnesota and transferred to a Chicago re-entry facility, according to Federal Bureau of Prisons records Tuesday, the Associated Press is reporting.

Hastert, who has a residence near Plano, was sentenced to 15 months in prison in April 2016 in a banking violations case that revealed accusations he had sexually abused teenagers while teaching and coaching wrestling at Yorkville High School from 1965 to 1980.

The 75-year-old Republican is no longer at the Minnesota federal prison where he began serving his sentence on June 22, 2016, but is at a Chicago residential re-entry management office, online records showed, according to the AP. Hastert’s release date is listed as Aug. 16.

The former congressman-turned-high-paid lobbyist had to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence, or just over a year. It’s not uncommon for inmates to be released early for administrative or other reasons, the AP noted.

Hastert pleaded guilty to violating federal banking law in seeking to pay $3.5 million in hush money to keep the sex abuse secret.

Messages left for The Bureau of Prisons weren’t immediately returned Tuesday. Prison officials typically don’t discuss the movement of prisoners on security grounds and it’s unclear how long Hastert would have to stay at a halfway house or if he could be transferred to home confinement instead, the AP reported.

In addition, to his 15 month jail term, Judge Thomas M. Durkin ordered Hastert in April 2016 to undergo sex offender treatment, serve two years of supervised release after his time behind bars and pay a $250,000 fine to go to a crime victims’ fund.

In a statement at his sentencing hearing, Hastert admitted that he “mistreated” some of his YHS athletes and said he was “deeply ashamed.”

“I am sorry to those I hurt and misled,” Hastert said. “What I did was wrong and I regret it.”

When Judge Durkin asked whether he sexually abused one wrestler specifically, Hastert said yes, the AP reported.

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