In handing down the sentence, U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin repeatedly slammed Hastert as a “serial child molester” who not only violated the trust of the boys he’d coached but also tried to mislead federal authorities years later by claiming he was being blackmailed by one of his victims.
“Nothing is more stunning than having the words ‘serial child molester’ and ‘speaker of the House’ in the same sentence,” Durkin said.
Hastert, dressed in a dark gray suit and appearing much thinner than his last court appearance in October, showed no outward reaction to the sentence, which was more than twice the high end of what prosecutors had sought. As spectators filed from the courtroom, Hastert remained motionless, not speaking to anyone. He was seated in a wheelchair and outfitted with a leg brace due to recent health issues.
The two-hour sentencing hearing capped a stunning downfall for Hastert, who rose from humble beginnings as a schoolteacher and coach to become the longest-serving Republican House speaker in U.S. history, a powerhouse in Illinois politics who was revered in the small town of Kendall County he called home.
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This man, a son of Illinois who chose his victims out of bizarre mix of familiarity and shaming, finally verbally admitted to the abuse of several victims in court. Unfortunately, some of his child victims were already deceased. It was their family members who stood in the courtroom for them to hear the child molestor’s admissions.
In a chilling reminder that this case isn’t exceptional, Child Lures Prevention states that-
How many victims does a child molester average?
Interviews guaranteeing complete confidentiality and immunity from prosecution, conducted by Emory University psychiatrist Dr. Gene Abel*, uncovered that:
Male offenders who abused girls had an average of 52 victims each.
Men who molested boys had an astonishing average of 150 victims each.
Only 3% of these crimes had ever been detected.