Hastert settlement with accuser finalized; no details public
YORKVILLE, Ill. (AP) — A judge on Wednesday finalized an out-of-court settlement between former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and a man who alleged that Hastert sexually abused him decades ago.
In a one-page order, Kendall County Judge Robert Pilmer dismissed the lawsuit the man filed “pursuant to the confidential settlement between the two parties.” The judge wrote that he would retain jurisdiction over the case for the “limited purpose of enforcing the settlement agreement.”
Pilmer was to preside over a civil trial of the lawsuit filed by the man who alleged that Hastert violated a verbal agreement between the two after paying only about half of the $3.5 million he said he would provide in exchange for the man’s silence about Hastert’s sexual abuse of him in the 1970s.
The man contended in the lawsuit that he was a teenage student at Yorkville High School in Illinois and Hastert was a wrestling coach when the abuse occurred.
Hastert was one of the most powerful politicians in the nation and the longest-serving Republican House speaker in American history when he stepped down from office in 2007. Revelations about the hush money agreement were at the center of a case that led to criminal charges against the former congressman years later. He pleaded guilty in 2016 to concealing huge cash withdrawals from his bank and was sentenced to more than a year in prison.
Prosecutors said Hastert sexually abused at least four male students decades ago, but he could not be charged with sexual abuse because the statute of limitations had long since run out.
Nowhere in Wednesday’s order is there any mention of how much, if any, money Hastert agreed to pay the man, whose name is not included. The man has been referred to only as James Doe in court documents, but Pilmer ruled this month that it could be made public at trial. The man’s attorney has not said if that ruling entered into the decision to settle.