Timeline of events in Dennis Hastert’s life and career

Sep 15, 2021, 3:42 PM | Updated: 4:33 pm

CHICAGO (AP) — Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert was for years known primarily for rising from political obscurity in rural Illinois to spending eight years in the nation’s third-highest office. Then came a federal indictment in a hush-money case centered on sex abuse allegations.

Hastert, then 74, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

On Wednesday, lawyers say Hastert and a man who accused him of child sexual abuse reached a tentative out-of-court settlement over Hastert’s refusal to pay the remaining $1.8 million of a verbal agreement to pay $3.5 million in hush money in exchange for the man’s silence.

Here are some key events in Hastert’s life and career, and the criminal and civil cases against him:


JAN. 2, 1942: Hastert is born in Aurora, Illinois, to a family that runs a farm-supply business.

1965: Hastert begins teaching history at Yorkville High School, west of Chicago, and coaching wrestling.

1976: Hastert is named Illinois Coach of the Year after leading Yorkville to the state wrestling championship.

1980: Hastert comes in third in an Illinois House primary, but the Republican Party chooses him to replace the fatally ill primary winner. Hastert later wins the general election and, the following year, leaves the high school.

1986: Hastert is nominated to replace a Republican congressman who is battling cancer. He wins a close election.

1998: Hastert tells incumbent U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich that dissatisfaction in GOP ranks makes it unlikely the Georgia lawmaker will hold onto the post. Gingrich resigns the next day.

1998: Hastert backs President Bill Clinton’s impeachment in the wake of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

1999: Hastert is elected U.S. House speaker.

2007: Hastert steps down as speaker after becoming longest-serving Republican in the position.

2010: Hastert allegedly agrees to pay a person $3.5 million to hide past misconduct. (A federal indictment filed five years later identifies the person as “Individual A.”)

2010-2012: Hastert allegedly makes 15 withdrawals of $50,000 to pay the person a total of $750,000, paying the money in lump sums of $100,000 cash.

2012-2014: When Hastert learns any withdrawals over $10,000 are flagged, he allegedly begins withdrawing cash in increments just under $10,000.

2013: The FBI and IRS start investigating Hastert on suspicion of violating banking reporting requirements.

DECEMBER 2014: Agents first question Hastert about the huge cash withdrawals. He allegedly says he’s taking the cash home because he doesn’t trust banks.

MAY 28, 2015: Hastert is indicted on one count of seeking to skirt bank reporting requirements and one count of lying to the FBI about the reason for his cash withdrawals.

JUNE 9, 2015: Hastert pleads not guilty.

JULY 14, 2015: Defense lawyer Thomas Green blames government leaks for media reports of past sexual misconduct by Hastert, allegations that he says could deprive Hastert of a fair trial.

OCT. 28, 2015: Hastert pleads guilty to evading banking laws and agrees to a deal with federal prosecutors that recommends he serve no more than six months in prison. A judge, however, could sentence Hastert to as much as five years in prison.

DEC. 17, 2015: Hastert’s attorney says in a statement that Hastert had a stroke in early November.

JAN. 28, 2016: The federal judge overseeing Hastert’s case agrees to delay sentencing until April 8, after Hastert’s attorneys say he nearly died from sepsis in November and was not released from the hospital until Jan. 15.

MARCH 2, 2016: The judge agrees to delay sentencing after prosecutors say a man who alleges he was sexually abused by Hastert is leaning toward testifying at sentencing but has a conflict on April 8, according to a transcript of a closed-door meeting. It’s the first time court documents link sex-abuse allegations to Hastert.

APRIL 6, 2016: Defense attorneys ask for probation for Hastert, saying he is “overwhelmed by the guilt.”

APRIL 8, 2016: A court filing details allegations of sex abuse against Hastert by at least four former students — marking the first time prosecutors confirm the hush money was paid to conceal sex abuse.

APRIL 25, 2016: “Individual A” sues Hastert for breach of contract, saying he’s owed more than half of the $3.5 million promised.

APRIL 27, 2016: Judge describes Hastert as “serial child molester” before sentencing him to 15 months in prison, sex offender treatment, two years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine that will go to a crime victims’ fund.

MAY 12, 2016: Hastert’s attorneys say he won’t appeal his conviction or 15-month prison sentence.

MAY 13, 2016: Hastert pays his $250,000 fine.

JUNE 22, 2016: Hastert reports to a Minnesota federal prison to begin serving his sentence as Inmate No. 47991-424.

APRIL 26, 2017: Illinois state retirement board trustees terminate Hastert’s pension for his six years in the Illinois General Assembly.

JULY 18, 2017: Federal Bureau of Prisons records show Hastert has been released from a Minnesota prison and transferred to Chicago re-entry facility.

SEPTEMBER 2019: A judge rules that a former student who Hastert sexually abused decades ago breached an unwritten $3.5 million hush-money agreement with Hastert by telling family members and a friend about it, but declines to enter a judgment saying decisive questions in the civil case can only be answered at a trial.

Sept. 9, 2021: A judge rules that a former student who accused Hastert of child sexual abuse then sued the former House speaker for refusing to pay $1.8 million in exchange for his silence will be named in court if his case goes to trial.

SEPT. 15, 2021: Hastert and a man who accused him of child sexual abuse reached a tentative out-of-court settlement over Hastert’s refusal to pay the remaining $1.8 million of a verbal agreement to pay $3.5 million in hush money in exchange for the man’s silence. The agreement comes ahead of a civil trial over the matter that was set to begin next week.


Source: Associated Press archives, court documents.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Timeline of events in Dennis Hastert’s life and career