Prosecutors say ex-US House Speaker Hastert sexually abused boys

Prosecutors Detail Sex-Abuse Allegations Against Dennis Hastert

April 8 (Reuters) - Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, convicted last year of a financial crime in a hush-money case, had agreed to pay $3.5 million to buy the silence of an individual who he sexually abused when the victim was a teenager, federal prosecutors said on Friday.

It was the first time that prosecutors, in a new court filing, had said that Hastert had been extorted to keep quiet allegations he sexually abused a 14-year-old victim decades ago.

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In the filing the prosecutors accuse Hastert, 74, of molesting several boys when he was a high school teacher and coach in his hometown of Yorkville, Illinois in the 1960s and 1970s.

Though the statute of limitations has expired on prosecuting Hastert for sex abuse, "with this case the government seeks to hold defendant accountable for the crimes he committed that can still be prosecuted," the prosecutors said in the filing.

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Prosecutors say ex-US House Speaker Hastert sexually abused boys
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert leaves after a guilty plea at Dirksen U.S. Courthouse on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015 in Chicago. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 15: Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) walks through Statuary Hall on his way to the House floor to make his farewell address to Congress November 15, 2007 in Washington, DC. He announced his resignation today and said he will leave office before the end of December. Hastert, 65, announced in August he would not seek reelection in 2008. Hastert was the longest-serving Republican speaker in U.S. history, and the first speaker since 1955 to remain in Congress after losing the speakership. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Dennis Hastert, former speaker of the US House of Representatives, attends the annual meeting of the Iranian resistance, presided over by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in Villepinte, near Paris, on June 22, 2013. Some 500 parliamentarians from the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Arab countries were expected to join the gathering on June 22, one week after Hassan Rowhani, a moderate cleric, was declared winner of Iran's presidential election, ending an eight-year conservative grip on the Islamic republic's administration under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Maryam Rajavi, president of the NCRI, denounced the 'sham election' in Iran and called on the West to stand firm with respect to Hassan Rohani, 'responsible for the machine or repression'. AFP PHOTO / JACQUES DEMARTHON (Photo credit should read JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JULY 28: Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (C) is joined by current Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) during a ceremony unveiling Hastert's portrati at the U.S. Capitol July 28, 2009 in Washington, DC. Hastert is the longest serving Republican speaker to date, holding the post from 1999-2007. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The former Republican speaker of the House of Representatives has admitted to paying $1.7 million in cash to someone he had known for decades to buy that person's silence and compensate for past misconduct toward that individual.

Hastert's lawyers have not revealed the misconduct at issue.

There was no immediate response to an email to one of his attorneys, Thomas Green, seeking comment on the details in the prosecutors' filing.

Hastert faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when sentenced later this month for his guilty plea in October to a federal charge of "structuring" - evading bank reporting rules by withdrawing large amounts of cash in small increments.

On Wednesday, his attorneys urged a federal judge to spare him prison time for health reasons and because he is "deeply sorry."

Prosecutors have recommended a prison term of no more than six months in exchange for Hastert's guilty plea. The defense asked that he be sentenced to probation only, citing his deteriorating medical condition.

Hastert is scheduled to be sentenced on April 27, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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