More details emerge on Hastert’s alleged sexual abuse

By Letitia Stein 
Reuters

Comedian Andy Richter, who attended the Illinois school where former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert coached wrestling decades ago, said a detail in court documents about the politician’s alleged sexual abuse of at least four male students jogged a memory for him.

Richter said for the first time in 30 years he thought about the “La-Z-Boy-type” chair where prosecutors said Hastert would sit and watch as boys showered in the locker room. Federal prosecutors on Friday provided new details on the sex abuse allegations against Hastert.

“I remember this chair. Purportedly ‘to keep boys from fighting,'” Richter wrote on Twitter late on Friday. He said he had not thought about the chair in 30 years, and that no one apparently questioned it at the time.

The actor known for his role as sidekick for late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien said he had attended Yorkville High School from 1980 to 1984. Hastert, 74, taught and coached at the school in his hometown of Yorkville in the 1960s and 1970s. He left to enter politics in the early 1980s.

The sexual abuse allegations against Hastert, a powerful Republican leader of the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2007, are too old to prosecute under the statute of limitations.

But the former politician last year pleaded guilty to a federal financial crime. He admitted to paying $1.7 million in cash to someone he had known for decades to buy that person’s silence and compensate for past misconduct toward that individual.

In a document that outlined sentencing recommendations, prosecutors said Hastert molested at least four boys involved with the wrestling team. They detailed how he offered massages in a locker room, then inappropriately touched some boys. Another alleged incident occurred in a motel room on a wrestling trip.

“The actions at the core of this case took place not on the defendant’s national public stage but in his private one-on-one encounters in an empty locker room and a motel room with minors that violated the special trust between those young boys and their coach,” prosecutors wrote.

Hastert is due to be sentenced on April 27. Prosecutors had agreed to a sentence of no more than six months in exchange for Hastert’s guilty plea. The defense has asked for probation only, citing Hastert’s deteriorating medical condition.

His attorney, Thomas Green, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Wednesday, his attorneys urged a federal judge to spare him prison time for health reasons and because he is “deeply sorry” for unspecified past misconduct.

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