Anti-gay Republican accused of covering up gay ‘sex abuse’ claims
Senior Republican politician Dennis Hastert has been accused of paying off a man from his home state to keep quiet about alleged sex abuse.
The scandal came to light after the FBI investigated large sums of money Mr Hastert had been withdrawing from his bank without disclosing, violating federal baking laws.
It was revealed that the money was being paid to a male former student of Mr Hastert’s in order to cover up accusations of “inappropriate relations”.
Mr Hastert worked as a high school teacher and wrestling coach in Illinois before becoming a politician.
Hastert voted for a number of anti-gay laws, including the “Marriage Protection Act” – and against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would have outlawed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
He was known as “Coach” by colleagues during his time as the longest-serving Speaker of the House of Representatives. He was speaker from 1999 to 2007.
He was indicted on Thursday for the scandal and attempted cover-up. On being asked the nature of the misconduct, an official involved in the investigation said: “It was sex”.
Another official said: “It goes back a long way, back to [Mr Hastert’s time as a teacher]. It has nothing to do with public corruption or a corruption scandal. Or to his time in office.”
His name was removed from a research centre in Wheaton College, Chicago, last week.
Mr Hastert – who opposes gay rights – became Speaker after Newt Gingrinch stepped down – Mr Gingrich’s assumed successor stepped aside after admitting to extra-marital affairs.
He was involved in the aftermath of the Mike Foley scandal in 2006.