Transcript for A Fall From Grace for the Former Speaker of the House
In the meantime, next tonight, to a stunning fall from grace to a man that was once one of the most powerful politicians in America. Tonight, going to prison, after authorities say he paid hush money to cover up his sexual abuse of boys as he coached them. Former speaker of the house Dennis Hastert arriving for sentencing in a wheelchair. Inside, confronted by one of his victims. And the judge, handing down a longer sentence than prosecutors had even asked for. Calling Hastert a, quote, serial child molester. ABC's chief investigative reporter, Brian Ross, in Chicago tonight. Reporter: Frail and in a wheelchair because of a recent stroke, the 74-year-old Hastert came to court today, forced to face his victims for the first time. Mr. Hastert hurt his victims many decades ago, but today they struck back. Reporter: Hastert was once a beloved wrestling coach, but today, one of his star athletes, Scott cross, broke three decades of silence to describe how Hastert abused him in the locker room at the age of 17. Now a Chicago banking executive and a married father of two, cross, through tears, said, "It was my darkest secret," especially, he said, as Hastert grew more powerful. Also testifying today, Jolene Burge, whose late brother Steve was another one of Hastert's victims. She first revealed his story in an interview with ABC news last year, describing how her brother confided his secret of being molested by his coach. I said, why didn't you ever tell anybody, Stevie? I mean, he was your teacher. Why didn't you ever tell anymore? And he just looked at me and said, who is ever going to believe me? Reporter: Today, outside court, she told me she's waited 25 years for this day. That no matter your power, or your position, you can't get away with things like this, especially in the molestation of a child. Reporter: Hastert also has his supporters. Former cia director porter Goss said Hastert was a loyal American who stood for center of the country values. But today, the former wrestling coach, the former speaker of the house, finally admitted what he had tried to hide for so long. That he molested those boys. And Brian Ross, who has been covering this story for some time, live tonight in Chicago. And Brian, the judge today imposing a tougher sentence than prosecutors had asked for? Reporter: That's right, David. 15 months. Of course, this happened so long ago that Hastert can only be prosecuted for failing to report all the cash he took out of the bank, more than a million dollars worth, to pay off one of his victims to keep quiet. The judge said today, had Hastert been caught molesting children when it happened, he might still be in state prison today. David? Our chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross tonight.
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