Delete, delete, delete.

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s name has been scrubbed from all over the place since last Thursday, when federal prosecutors charged him with making illegal cash withdrawals — and lying to the FBI about them — to hide decades-old “misconduct.”

The back story, according to sources: Hastert had agreed to pay $3.5 million to a man who says he was sexually abused by Hastert, who taught history and coached the wrestling team at Yorkville High School from 1965 to 1981.

Within hours after the indictment was announced, Hastert had resigned his position on the board of directors of CME Group, owner of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Reporters who called his Yorkville consulting firm, Hastert & Associates, were told to take their questions to the Washington lobbying firm for which he worked.

But Dickstein Shapiro LLC would say only that Hastert had resigned from there, too. By the end of the day, his profile had been removed from the company’s website.

Hastert, meanwhile, is MIA. There’s no sign of a lawyer, a spokesman, a crisis management team.

Erase, erase, erase.

In Springfield, a plan to erect a statue in his honor has been shelved. House Speaker Michael Madigan had filed a bill May 5 to set aside up to $500,000 for the statue, and the measure was set for a third reading in the Appropriations and General Services Committee as of May 18.

Madigan’s spokesman said Hastert himself had pulled the plug before the charges were announced, saying “he appreciated the recognition and honor, but asked us to defer given the state’s financial condition.”

On Friday, Hastert’s alma mater, Wheaton College, said it had accepted his resignation from the board of advisers of a public policy center named for him in 2007. The Christian college also houses a collection of Hastert’s papers.

On Sunday, the school announced that the J. Dennis Hastert Center for Economics, Government and Public Policy would now be known as the Wheaton College Center for Economics, Government and Public Policy.

Rewind, rewind, rewind.

In Washington, Hastert’s portrait hangs steps from the House floor. The longest-serving Republican speaker in history, he was known to members as “coach,” a reference to the days when he built a wrestling powerhouse at Yorkville High.

Hastert coached the Yorkville Foxes to the 1976 state championship. The local wrestling club sponsors a tournament named for him. The National Wrestling Hall of Fame named him to its Hall of Outstanding Americans in 2000. “His biography, ‘Speaker,’ is for sale in our gift shop,” the organization’s website says. Federal prosecutors are editing some of those chapters now.

Editorial by the Chicago Tribune

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