Prosecutors: Hastert sought to hide abuse of 14-year-old

CHICAGO (AP) -- Dennis Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million to a person the former House speaker sexually abused when the victim was 14 years old and Hastert worked as a high-school teacher and wrestling coach outside Chicago, prosecutors said in a court filing Friday.

The court filing is the first time prosecutors have confirmed Hastert paid hush-money to conceal sex abuse of a 14-year-old.

The 74-year-old Republican managed to keep any hint of sexual misconduct quiet throughout a political career that carried him from the Illinois Legislature to the halls of Congress and eventually to the speaker's office, where he was second in the line of succession to the presidency.

Hastert pleaded guilty in October to breaking banking laws as he sought to pay $3.7 million to someone referred to as Individual A to ensure the person kept quiet about Hastert's past misconduct.

He is scheduled to be sentenced April 27.

A defense filing Wednesday asked the presiding judge to give Hastert probation and spare him prison time. It cited Hastert's deteriorating health, as well as the public shame he has already suffered.

The case has been shrouded in secrecy since the May 2015 indictment. Prosecutors only confirmed at a March hearing that sex-abuse claims were at its core. But there was no prior word of the hearing, so the court was mostly empty. Transcripts later revealed what transpired. 

The Associated Press and other media outlets, citing unnamed sources, reported last year that Hastert wanted to hide claims he sexually molested someone. But Friday's filing is the first time prosecutors offered extensive details about misconduct by Hastert.

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