Former U.S House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert, indicted Thursday on federal criminal charges, was paying a male from his past to try to conceal sexual misconduct, the Los Angeles Times reported weekend, citing two unnamed federal law enforcement officials.
One of the officials cited by the newspaper said the alleged misconduct involved a male and occurred during Hastert’s time as a high school wrestling coach and teacher in Yorkville, Illinois, before becoming a lawmaker.
Hastert, 73, was charged Thursday with structuring the withdrawal of $952,000 in cash to evade the requirement that banks report cash transactions over $10,000, and lying to the FBI about his withdrawals.
Prosecutors said Hastert attempted to hide $3.5 million in payments he was making to a person to conceal past misconduct, but did not detail the nature of the misconduct.
Hastert could not immediately be reached for comment.
Asked why Hastert, an Illinois Republican who become his party’s longest-serving House speaker before leaving Congress in 2007, was making the payments, the official told the Times that it was intended to conceal Hastert’s past relationship with the male.
“It was sex,” said the official, whom spoke on condition of anonymity.
“It goes back a long way, back to then,” the source told the Los Angeles Times. “It has nothing to do with public corruption or a corruption scandal. Or to his time in office.”
A second source told the newspaper that the misconduct constituted sexual abuse.