Former US House speaker Dennis Hastert was released from prison and will serve his final month of a child sex abuse-linked sentence under supervision by a Chicago re-entry office, authorities said Tuesday.
Hastert admitted last year to paying hush money to cover up the sexual abuse of boys decades ago. The former Illinois congressman served as House speaker from 1999-2007, the longest-serving occupant of the post second in line to the presidency.
He was handed 15 months in federal prison for breaking banking laws in the cover-up, a sentence he was serving at a medical prison facility in Rochester, Minnesota, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
The 75-year-old former congressman suffered a stroke in 2015.
He was released from the Minnesota facility on Monday and is now under the jurisdiction of the Chicago Residential Reentry Management Office, which administers halfway houses and helps prepare prisoners to re-enter society, the bureau said.
It was not immediately clear whether Hastert would finish the remainder of his sentence in a halfway house or under house arrest. He is set to be released from custody August 16.
During his sentencing in a Chicago court last year, Hastert admitted for the first time that he had sexually abused boys when he taught wrestling at Yorkville High School in a Chicago-area suburb from the 1960s to the early 1980s.
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.
“They looked to me and I took advantage of them,” Hastert was quoted as saying in court.
He had agreed to pay hush money to one of his victims. He pleaded guilty to illegally structuring bank withdrawals to avoid reporting where he was sending funds as part of the $3.5 million settlement.
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