O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing garnered national headlines this week. Indeed, some may believe that he is still receiving unfair celebrity treatment for simply being granted a hearing. This sentiment arguably spilled over when the commissioners voted unanimously to grant parole.
In the midst of this news, former speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert was recently released from federal prison. Hastert was sentenced to a 15 month sentence for bank fraud stemming from his actions in making patterns of payments to avoid federal reporting requirements. Hastert was initially investigated for making more than $900,000 in small withdrawals across a number of his personal accounts to avoid federal scrutiny.
Making matters worse, it was later revealed that the payments were to secure continued silence from a sexual abuse victim. During his sentencing for the bank fraud charge, Hastert tacitly admitted that he sexually abused male wrestlers at Yorkville High School in his native Illinois where he worked from 1965 to 1981 before he started in politics. He was not charged for these actions, but the court noted that he was a “serial child molester,” and that “some actions can obliterate a lifetime of good works.”
Ultimately, Hastert’s and Simpson’s experiences share one thing in common. No matter how spectacular one’s fall from grace may be, they are still entitled to constitutional protections when accused of a crime. This is why it is critical for a person facing criminal sanctions to have an experienced criminal defense attorney at their side.
The preceding is not legal advice.