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

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CHICAGO  —Prosecutors in Dennis Hastert's hush-money case say in a new court filing that the former House Speaker agreed to pay $3.5 million to a victim for sex abuse when victim was 14 years old.

The alleged sex abused happened in the 1970s when Hastert worked as a high-school teacher and wrestling coach outside Chicago.

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

Prosecutors say when they questioned Hastert about his large cash withdrawals he told them he was being extorted by someone making a false claim of sex abuse.

In the court filing, prosecutors say Hastert agreed to let investigators record phone conversations he had with the man who later became known as "Individual A."

Prosecutors say "Individual A's tone and comments" during the conversations "were inconsistent with someone committing extortion." They say he didn't seem angry when Hastert told him he was having trouble getting money.

Agents then questioned Individual A, who told them about abuse that occurred when he was 14.

Hastert has pleaded guilty to violating banking laws.

The filing also details allegations by at least four people who say the former U.S. House speaker sexually abused them as children.

The document says three were wrestlers coached by Hastert and the fourth was a student-manager.

One wrestler told prosecutors the abuse occurred in a motel room on the way home from wrestling camp. The others said Hastert touched them in the locker room at Yorkville High School, after saying he would give them massages.

Two of them say Hastert performed sex acts on them when they were 14- and 17-years-old.

Another wrestler cited in the document says Hastert touched his genitals while he was on a locker room massage table but he wasn't sure if it was intentional.

Prosecutors are seeking up to six months in prison for Hastert.

Prosecutors said they are seeking zero to six months in prison as part of the court filing.

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.

 

READ FULL COURT DOCUMENTS (pdf)

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