It’s not only the Republicans who do this, but it does seem to be the specialty of “family values” Republicans to get caught up in some sexual escapade. Or sometimes something much darker. In the case of former Speaker of the House, Denny Hastert, it turns out to be something much darker. So yesterday, Hastert finally faced the music for his sexual abuse of teenage boys while he was a high school wrestling coach, long before he was Speaker of the House. The judge who sentenced him described him as a “serial child molester” before giving him a 15 month sentence.
Despite his characterization of the former Speaker, the judge couldn’t sentence him for being a serial child molester because the statute of limitations on those crimes had expired a long time ago. But he could sentence him for violations of the banking code, as Hastert unlawfully structured the withdrawal of $952,000 in hush money in order to evade the requirement that banks report cash transactions over $10,000. He also made false statements to the FBI about the purpose of his withdrawals, which is also a crime.
As Hastert became more and more powerful, first becoming a Congressman, and then in 1999 becoming the 51st speaker of the House, his victims became more and more disempowered. Who would believe them that they were abused by the man who eventually was 3rd in line to the Presidency?
But even the powerful eventually become undone. Now in a wheelchair because of a recent stroke, Hastert is just a shadow of his former self. His victims won’t have much in the way of formal justice, but now people will at least believe them and believe that they were victims. And I can only say that with “family value” Republicans, the louder they bray, the more I distrust them. Sorry America, our hypocrisy is not like theirs.
I read later in the day that Hastert had actually advocated for life imprisonment for people convicted of child sexual abuse.