Dennis Hastert sentenced to 15 months in prison

- Dennis Hastert was sentenced to 15 months in prison Wednesday at the Dirksen Federal Building.

In addition to serving time in prison, Hastert will be required to serve two years supervised release, participate in a sex offender program and pay a $250,000 fine to go to a crime victims fund, according to Judge Thomas Durkin.

The former U.S. House speaker was indicted for "structuring" cash withdrawals and lying to investigators probing the suspicious financial dealings related to accusations that Hastert sexually abused at least four students decades ago during his time as a teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School.

Roughly six months ago Hastert, who was once the third-highest ranking elected official in the nation, pleaded guilty to paying $1.7 million in hush money to cover up sexual misconduct.

The 74-year-old's sentencing puts an end to an 11-month saga that began when prosecutors accused him of dodging banking laws and lying to the FBI.

Two witnesses spoke at the sentencing, Jolene Burdge, the sister of an alleged victim, and "Individual D," who identified himself at the sentencing as Scott Cross, the younger brother of former House Republican leader Tom Cross.

"I hope I've been your worst nightmare ... What you did wasn't misconduct.  It was sexual abuse of a minor," Burdge said, addressing Hastert.

Cross described sexual abuse committed by Hastert, calling it his "darkest" secret that he kept for over 35 years.

"I tried to figure out why Coach Hastert had singled me out," Cross said. "At age 17 I did not understand what happened or why."

Hastert's attorney raised concerns about the 74-year-old obtaining adequate medical care in prison, saying he is "incapable of caring for himself" after suffering from a stroke, blood disease and back surgeries.

Defense attorney Thomas Green said he "acknowledges and respects" the pain of the man who described being molested as a teenager. He urged the judge to take into consideration the "entire arc" of Hastert's life, asserting that he reshaped his life as a public servant during his political career.

"Decades of not just political achievement but acts of goodness and charity have been erased, a lot of it even physically as his name has been removed from public places and his portrait at the Capitol put into storage," Green said.

Reading from a prepared statement, Hastert apologized to the victims and to the government, his supporters, constituents and colleagues. 

"I am deeply ashamed I am before you today. I am the one solely responsible for being here," Hastert said.

Durkin called Hastert a "serial child molester" and closed the sentencing saying, "I hope to never see a case like this again."

Dennis Hastert enters Dirksen Federal Building with the assistance of a wheelchair

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