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US judge orders Dennis Hastert to begin prison sentence

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert leaves the Dirksen Federal Court House in a wheelchair after his sentencing on April 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (AFP photo)

The former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert, has been ordered by a federal judge to report to prison next month for a financial crime linked to sexual abuse of boys.

Hastert, once one of the country’s most powerful politicians, was ordered Thursday to report to prison by June 22 to begin serving a 15-month sentence in his hush-money case.

In a one-page court order, US District Court Judge Thomas Durkin said Hastert is to “surrender to the designated institution” no later than 2 pm local time.

The order doesn't identify the prison. A Bureau of Prisons spokesman said that information won't be released until Hastert reports.

Durkin described Hastert, 74, as "a serial child molester" during his sentencing last month in Chicago, Illinois. He said Hastert abused at least four boys when he coached wrestling at a high school in Yorkville, Illinois.

Durkin said he would have sentenced Hastert to a longer prison time if it were not for Hastert’s age and poor health. Frail and clinging to a walker, Hastert apologized in court for sexually abusing the boys.

President George W. Bush, center, is applauded by Vice President Dick Cheney, left, and speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, right, during Bush's State of the Union address at the Congress in Washington, DC on February 2, 2005.

Hastert, the longest-serving Republican House speaker in history, pleaded guilty last October to the crime of structuring withdrawals of just under $10,000 from his account in order to evade bank reporting laws.

Hastert, a Republican who represented Illinois's 14th congressional district, cannot be charged for the alleged sexual abuse due to the statutes of limitation.

He needed the money after he reached a secret agreement with one of his sexual abuse victims to pay him $3.5 million in compensation for pain and suffering.

The victim, who has not been named publicly, has sued Hastert for $1.8 million, saying he had received only $1.7 million of the promised $3.5 million compensation.

Prosecutors say that Hastert made his alleged victims “feel alone, ashamed, guilty and devoid of dignity. While defendant achieved great success, reaping all the benefits that went with it, these boys struggled, and all are still struggling now with what defendant did to them."

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