Policy

Alleged Hastert Abuse Victim Sues for $1.8M

Man says he's owed more from hush-money deal with former House speaker

Dennis Hastert was the longest serving Republican House speaker.

One of Dennis Hastert’s alleged sexual abuse victims filed a lawsuit on Monday against the former House speaker seeking the remaining $1.8 million — plus interest — he says he’s owed as part of a hush-money scheme.  

The lawsuit, filed in Kendall County Circuit Court in Yorkville, Ill., said the individual Hastert was paying kept up his end of the agreement by not publicly disclosing his claims.  

It was not until the man was questioned by law enforcement agents investigating Hastert's banking activity that he said he was sexually abused decades ago by the Illinois Republican in a motel room during a wrestling camp trip when he was 14, according to the complaint.  

Hastert, the longest serving Republican House speaker, was a teacher and wrestling coach at Yorkville High School from 1965 to 1981 before he became involved in politics. Federal prosecutors say Hastert sexually abused at least four individuals during his time.  

Hastert was never charged with sexual abuse due to statutes of limitation, but he pleaded guilty in October to evading federal banking requirements. Authorities found that he was withdrawing $50,000 increments, then $9,000 increments to pay a man known as "Individual A" as part of an agreement not to disclose the abuse.  

Hastert is scheduled to be sentenced in that case in Chicago on Wednesday.  

The plaintiff in the lawsuit filed Monday appears to be "Individual A." Attorneys for the plaintiff, identified only as "James Doe" wrote that since the abuse, their client has "suffered severe panic attacks which lead to periods of unemployment, career changes, bouts of depression, hospitalization, and long-term psychiatric treatment," according to the complaint.  

The individual, who has not been identified publicly, requested the use of a pseudonym when filing the lawsuit, citing the highly sensitive nature of the matter. The use of the plaintiff's legal name would "cause great psychological damage to him in the form of shame and embarrassment," according to the court filing.  

In the lawsuit, the individual is suing Hastert for breaching a verbal contract in which the former speaker agreed to pay a total of $3.5 million in exchange for the acts to be kept private. Hastert paid Individual A $1.7 million from June 2010 to December 2014, when Hastert's banking activity became the subject of a federal investigation.  

The plaintiff is seeking the remaining $1.8 million he says he is owed under the agreement, plus interest. The complaint does not state how much more in interest would be added to the request.  

Attorneys representing Hastert said they had no comment on the lawsuit.  

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