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Hastert: The ?Whys? Have It

Uploaded: Jun 3, 2015

Questions abound around the indictment of Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois ? some are prurient, and others relate to policy. Leaving the inglorious details of the former to the scandal sheets, there's still a lot to ponder.

The outline is simple: Mr. Hastert, who became Speaker because everybody knew his closet was bare, is charged with two things: making a long series of bank withdrawals designed to evade detection under laws intended to catch terrorists and money launderers, and then lying about it to the FBI.

The indictment helpfully adds that he was amassing some $3.5 million into a fund to 'compensate and ensure the silence of' an individual who may have been subjected to misbehavior at the hands of Mr. Hastert, long ago, during his tenure as a high school teacher and wrasslin' coach. Later leaks suggest that the misconduct was same-sexual, and that his victim and was underage. If true, although that's some empty closet, it's not the stuff of the interesting inquiries.

Rather, first and foremost ? why was this case brought? Prosecutors always have to determine how best to manage their overstocked dockets ? what to charge, for which offenses, and how to handle those cases down the line. We would like to believe that there's proper public purpose guidance behind those choices ? especially when they appear to be relatively technical and divorced in time and substance for any wrongdoing.

Thus it is that few tears are shed for Al Capone, convicted of tax evasion, but culpable of so much more in a criminal career that's better described as a thirteen-year rampage. The complicit locals were unwilling to charge him, and the Feds were limited in their menu of possible crimes. Is l'Affaire Hastert really such a case?

The unknown details of the underlying incident are probably unsavory, just as they always are when teachers consort with their students. There's a serious abuse of power there, especially as regards youngsters who have not achieved the age of consent; the consequences for the victim can be tragically life-altering. Still, it seems unlikely that this could have been a pattern of predation and have remained so unknown, especially regarding a man whose life quickly became so public in the rough-and-tumble arenas of Illinois and national politics.

The staleness of these allegations also weighs against them. No victim has come forward at any time in the thirty-year interim. Small midwestern towns do hold their secrets, and crimes are charged as against The People of the State, rather than the victim. Still, Statutes of Limitations also exist for sound reasons, the underlying conduct occurred long ago, and I have to wonder about this prosecution's public purpose.

Clearly, that purpose cannot relate to the actual financial charges brought. The withdrawal pattern raised suspicion and was investigated to the satisfaction of the proper authorities ? clearly there was no terrorism or laundering afoot ? and even the apparent purpose of a kind of settlement of possible claims is not illegal. The case has the feel of a public shaming ? a Scarlet Letter to be affixed to the former Speaker's lapel, forever. So someone needs to tell us: why?

I have a few other questions, as well.

First, why do we tolerate a system in which a pol can leave office with a net worth of less than a million bucks, and then be discovered a decade later, doling-out several times that amount -- out of petty cash? After his tearful departure from the political scene, Mr. Hastert's behind-the-scenes lobbying career has netted him many, many millions.

Even the prospect, much less the fact, of such an ensuing career just has to incline a guy favorably toward the monied interests. The Washington revolving-door that allows such influence peddling badly needs reform. We could start by requiring a ten-year cooling-off period after leaving office, during which time an actual honest living would presumably have to be earned.

Second, if rhetorically, why ? oh, Why -- do we tolerate the ongoing venality of our national leaders? It may be lost in most headlines, here, that now of all three senior Republican leaders in the House that impeached the Democratic President for lying about the fact that he'd been diddling the help (an ingénue, but at least one who could consent legally, and with some enthusiasm), each had scandalously big bones rattling around in the back of the family-values cloakroom.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, the once-and-future Serious Presidential Candidate, carried-on affairs similarly and serially. Next-in-line Bob Livingston demurred from the office, concerned that his own extramarital pants-dropping proclivities might come to light. That left the Speaker's chair to Mr. Hastert, a very epitome of verisimilitude, at least until now. Clearly, politics self-selects for ego-centric extroverts, and Mr. Kissinger is correct about power as an aphrodisiac ? but why are there so few adults in the room, and why do We, the People, so often return these adolescents to the candy store?

I suppose I could also ask why, when we seem to have an actual Family Man in the White House, he's the subject of such scorn from those who purport to most value that quality, but it might be 'wise' to hold that 'why' for another day.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jun 3, 2015 at 3:33 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

There's something about wrestling that makes me very uncomfortable to watch. I don't mean the entertainment version with a lot of jumping and bouncing and role-playing. That's a lot of fun. It's this serious, competition wrestling that seems unseemly. Am I the only one who feels that way?


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 3, 2015 at 8:02 pm

Roz...I don't understand your question? Please ask it another way. Thank you.

I don't believe that charges of sexual abuse of adolescents by adults/teachers are ever "stale". I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if other students come forth and accuse Mr. Hastert of sexual abuse...male and/or female. There is reason to believe that sexual abuse does not only occur in "small mid-western towns" but it happens frequently all over the United States of America. The sexual abuse of students by professional teaching staff is not uncommon. If necessary, I am willing to cite numerous articles/legal cases re: student sexual abuse by school teachers in private and public schools.

The charges against Mr. Hastert are unfolding. Until more is learned, it seems unreasonable to assume that he is guilty. My bias is that I believe that Mr. Hastert, as many other adults, are quite capable of engaging in sexual activities with students at all grade levels.

I take the charges against Mr. Hastert recently quite seriously. This important case is unfolding and the specifics of what happened are not public at this time.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 3, 2015 at 8:27 pm

Teacher SEX ABUSE: Web Link

Above article 2015.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 3, 2015 at 8:45 pm

COPY/Federal Indictment of John Dennis Hastert:

Web Link

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 3, 2015 at 9:04 pm

Roz...I have always thought of Sumo wrestling as humorous.

Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Jun 4, 2015 at 4:23 pm

Values and morals still matter to many voters(maybe not in the Bay Area so much) & I don't care if you are a Republican or Democrat, or if it was an underage boy or girl student, a teacher using their position of influence with a student is a sign of lack of character & not worthy of being a so called public servant politician... Only thing I think I agree with you on is how does a teacher slash politician suddenly come up with millions of dollars? Similar to how does Chelsey Clinton who allegedly runs her dad's non-profit have net worth of $15 million and bought a well publicized penthouse in New York?

Although I did not agree with their political views and policies, always respected Truman & Carter for sticking to their Christian values and small town simplicity.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 4, 2015 at 8:50 pm

American, laws exist to protect vulnerable youth/adults from sexual predators. Are you saying that you don't care that a boy may have been the victim of an adult sexual predator?

The story re: Mr. Hastert is unfolding. It most likely will take time to learn the facts.

Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Jun 5, 2015 at 4:47 am

Cholo: If you read my comments you will see that is not what I am saying at all... I want to throw the book at any adult, especially if a teacher or person of influence, who takes advantage of a youth.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 5, 2015 at 9:02 am

Family of boy raped by Mr. Hastert speaks up:

Web Link

Please view video from ABC. The victim is now deceased. Rest In Peace.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 5, 2015 at 9:09 am

Americans...be prepared to learn that many more children may have been raped by Mr. Hastert. Rarely does a child molester ever sexually abuse just one child.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 5, 2015 at 9:38 am

Am I the only one that believes that it may be time to place Mr. Hastert on a suicide watch?

Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Jun 5, 2015 at 10:49 am

cholo: I think there are readers who would believe that suicide would be too easy a way-out for Mr. Hastert.

Am: recognizing that lawyers' duties as officers of the court may cause them to have to act against their personal values, I'd be interested in your thoughts on the following: if you were the state's attorney for wherever Yorkville IL,happens to be, would you throw the book at (bring charges against) Mr. Hastert for the alleged misconduct that gave rise to the payments? Or, if you represented him in such a case (let's say you were appointed, although he does appear to have ample means to pay for counsel) -- would you fail to argue the statute of limitations?

Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Jun 5, 2015 at 5:54 pm

Tom: I am glad that there are people who practice criminal defense as so important that everyone has right to counsel, but at same time I could never be a criminal defense attorney. His attorney obviously needs to zealously defend him and if statute of limitations a viable argument, zealously argue it.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 5, 2015 at 6:06 pm

well...if hastert's attorney argues in favor of the statute of limitations, then it means that hastert did indeed sexually abuse the child...at least that's how i view this terrible situation...

Posted by American, a resident of Danville,
on Jun 5, 2015 at 6:21 pm

Cholo: Arguing statute of limitations does not, in general imply guilt, but is way knock case out immediately before get to substantive merits of innocence or guilt. It exists as due process safeguard as often witnesses disappear or evidence is lost over time and hard to defend case where those things exist.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 5, 2015 at 6:27 pm

in this case, it seems to me that it means that the "H" is indeed guilty...since i'm not an attorney, i rest my case...

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 5, 2015 at 6:41 pm

If Mr. Hastert continued to pay money beyond the statute of limitations, then does the time when the last payment was received by the victim mark the beginning date/onset of the sexual abuse?

Is there any reason to believe that a judge might find for the victim and allow the charges against Mr. Hastert to proceed? I'm trying to understand if there are special circumstances under which the statute of limitations can be suspended and a case may proceed?

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 5, 2015 at 6:50 pm

One more question: Is child rape over an extended period considered a "Heinous crime". If so, is that reason enough to suspend the statute of limitations?

If I don't take my dogs out again, they will surely tear up the house...gotta go!

Posted by Pololo Mololo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 5, 2015 at 7:56 pm

Crime of Moral Turpitude: Is child rape considered a crime of moral turpitude?

Is that enuf to suspend the statute of limitation and prosecute Mr. Hastert.

Posted by Kingsfield , a resident of another community,
on Jun 5, 2015 at 10:09 pm

No, no, no, and no. Web Link

Good tries, though.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 6, 2015 at 11:56 am

maybe the charge re: sex abuse is a way to trash and shame mr. hastert? and the real issues have to do with other violations. mr. hastert has already lied and somebody is ticked off so they want to lynch him or at least teach him a very serious lesson?

anyways...i'm getting curiousier and curiousier...

time will tell

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 11, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Chris Matthews: Web Link

I find this situation tragic and have mixed feelings about comments made by Barney Frank. Hopefully, when the court makes a decision, the information that has been provided will be clarified.

I believe the sister of the deceased student. It's all so tragic. The deceased student, Rest In Peace.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 11, 2015 at 3:52 pm

When I heard this crazy creature trash Bill Clinton and then heard a senate saint blabber on tape, I couldn't believe what eventually happened to him: Web Link

Ole tappy toes got busted and then resigned...BUSTED! good riddance!

I just hope that more children were not harmed by Mr. Hastert. I don't know how other folks are dealing with this mess but I spend a lot of time tracking pedophiles and posting info about them online, this is just another heart-breaking horror story.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 11, 2015 at 4:26 pm

What do Americans make of Mr. Hastert's duplicity?

Web Link

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Jun 13, 2015 at 6:15 pm

Is the answer Priest or Hastert Pie?

Web Link

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