Dennis Hastert Barred From Being Alone With Children

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A federal judge has ordered that the former House Speaker, retired Republican Rep. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, cannot be alone with children or have access to pornography. Hastert was convicted of financial crimes related to his efforts to suppress accusations of molesting minors.

On Dec. 12, District Judge Thomas M. Durkin of Chicago announced that Hastert could not be left alone with anyone under the age of 18 unless supervised by an adult.

"[Hastert] shall not have contact with any person under the age of 18, except in the presence of a responsible adult who is aware of the nature of his/her background and current offense, and who has been approved by the probation officer and treatment provider," Durkin wrote in his order, according to NBC News.

Durkin added that Hastert "shall not possess or have under his/her control any pornographic, sexually oriented, or sexually stimulating materials, including visual, auditory, telephonic, or electronic media, computer programs or services."

Hastert's personal computer will be monitored to ensure he complies with the order. Durkin ordered that the former lawmaker pay for the recording software installation, The Associated Press reports.

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Hastert, 75, served as the House speaker from 1999 to 2007, during which he was among the most powerful lawmakers in the U.S. and in the chain of presidential succession.

In April 2016, he was sentenced to 15 months in prison for bank crimes related to his efforts conceal alleged sexual abuses.

Hastert allegedly molested four underage students during his tenure as a high school coach from 1965 to 1981. While the statute of limitations had expired for the alleged abuse, the former lawmaker was convicted of violating financial law in his efforts to pay $3.5 million to one of his accusers in exchange for silence.

"The defendant is a serial child molester," Durkin said during the sentencing hearing, according to The New York Times. "Some of his actions can obliterate a lifetime of good works. Nothing is more stunning than having 'serial child molester' and 'speaker of the House' in the same sentence."

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Hastert admitted to the allegations during his trial.

"The thing I want to do today is say I'm sorry to those I hurt and misled," the former House speaker said in court. "I want to apologize to the boys I mistreated when I was their coach. What I did was wrong and I regret it."

Hastert was released from prison in July. He is currently on supervised release.

Sources: AP via U.S. News & World Report, NBC NewsThe New York Times / Featured Image: Doug Bowman/Flickr / Embedded Images: Tech. Sgt. Andy Dunaway/U.S. Air Force/Wikimedia Commons, Booking photo via WGNTV

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