WORLD – Prosecutors seeking prison sentence for former politician

Former US House Speaker Dennis Hastert is alleged to have abused five boys

Prosecutors are seeking a six-month jail sentence for disgraced former US House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who is alleged to have paid hush money to cover up sex abuse.

Court documents say Hastert agreed to pay $3.5m (£2.5m) to a person he sexually abused when the victim was aged 14 and Hastert was working as a teacher and wrestling coach.

Prosecutors allege he abused five boys.

The 74-year-old has admitted lying and breaking financial laws.

The plea represents a dramatic fall for the former senior Republican politician, who has had his portrait removed from the House of Representatives in the US Congress.

The alleged abuse happened while Hastert was working in Yorkville, a suburb of Chicago, between 1965 and 1981. Three of the victims were wrestlers on a team he coached.

He cannot be charged with sexual abuse as the statute of limitations has expired in the cases.

Defence lawyers want Hastert to be spared jail because they say he is suffering from ill health.

He is due to be sentenced on 27 April.

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