BREAKING: Ex-House Speaker Dennis Hastert Accused Of Sexually Abusing At Least Four Victims

Dennis Hastert, the Republican who was once third in line for the presidency and was supposed to stand for heartland “family values,” is even more of a disgrace than we could have imagined.

Hastert, who served as Speaker of the House from 1999-2007, pleaded guilty in the fall to dodging federal banking laws. It’s now known he was paying hush money to a male former student who was allegedly abused while Hastert was a wrestling coach.

The Chicago Tribune has found at least four people who claim they were abused by him. The details that have emerged are stomach-turning. More may come out at Hastert’s sentencing.

“Hastert is alleged to have sexually abused the teens identified by the Tribune when he was a teacher and coach at Yorkville High School in the far southwest suburbs, decades before he became the longest-serving Republican speaker. Some of the alleged conduct, which prosecutors have not detailed, might come to light this week when prosecutors are expected to file sentencing memorandums.

[…]In a small town where the Tastee Freez was a gathering place for local teens, Hastert taught many siblings of the alleged victims and knew most of their parents on a first-name basis. Each of the alleged victims identified by the Tribune had their struggles. Yet they all kept quiet about their hometown’s favorite son and the inappropriate sexual contact that they alleged he had with them when they were high school students and he was in a position of trust.”

It’s horrifying enough that a high school coach should abuse anyone, much less four students (that we know of). But Hastert even had the gall to ask a victim’s relative to help him get off easier.

“With the sentencing hearing looming, a source said Hastert called one of Individual D’s relatives, hoping to get a letter to show Hastert had done good things with his life; that letter could help persuade (the judge) to give Hastert a more lenient sentence.”

And oh, the hypocrisy! Hastert held himself up as quite the social conservative. He opposed same-sex marriage and the Clinton administration’s efforts to prevent discrimination against gays and lesbians.

Hastert’s sentencing is April 27.

Ellen Brodsky is a long time blogger for and a contributor to Crooks and Liars. She has also worked as a researcher for Brave New Films' landmark documentary, "Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism" and "Iraq for Sale."