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Local

Sexual abuse allegations leveled against Hastert

At least four people have made “credible allegations of sexual abuse” against former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, according to a report Thursday in the Chicago Tribune,

The Associated Press reported the newspaper has determined the identities of three accusers, all of them men whose allegations stem from when they were teenagers and Hastert was their coach at Yorkville High School more than three decades ago. One of the accusers is dead. The other two accusers have been described in court documents only as Individual A and Individual D. Individual A declined to make any comment when approached by the newspaper. Individual D spoke privately to the newspaper, according to the Tribune.

The newspaper did not name any of the men who are still alive and it said it did not know the identity of the fourth accuser and offered no details about that person, according to the AP.

The AP previously identified the now-deceased accuser as Stephen Reinboldt, a team equipment manager at YHS, where Hastert worked as a teacher and wrestling coach from 1965 to 1981. Individual A and Individual D, were popular standout athletes in Yorkville from well-known families, according to the Tribune report.

Reinboldt’s sister, Jolene Burdge of Billings, Montana, has told the AP her brother told her his first homosexual experience was with Hastert and that the sexual abuse lasted throughout his time at Yorkville. Reinboldt died in 1995.

The 74 year-old Hastert, who served as U.S. Speaker of the House from 1999 to 2007, is scheduled to be sentenced April 27 in federal court in Chicago. He pleaded guilty last fall to violating banking laws while seeking to pay $3.5 million in hush money to ensure Individual A stayed quiet about unspecified past misconduct by Hastert against that person. According to court documents, Hastert managed to pay $1.7 million to Individual A in lump sums of $100,000 cash and abruptly stopped making the payments in 2014 after the FBI questioned him about the large cash withdrawals.

The AP noted key aspects of the case have been shrouded in secrecy, starting Hastert’s indictment by federal prosecutors last May 28. The seven-page document only vaguely hints at Hastert’s motivations for breaking banking law. Only two weeks ago – at an unannounced court hearing – did the judge and attorneys first broach sexual-abuse allegations in a mostly empty courtroom as they discussed Individual D possibly testifying at Hastert’s sentencing.

The AP and other media outlets, citing unnamed sources, previously reported that Hastert wanted to hide claims he sexually molested someone.

In papers filed Wednesday, Hastert’s lawyers asked Judge Thomas M. Durkin to spare Hastert time behind bars and give him probation instead, citing his deteriorating health and the steep price they say he has already paid in shame and disgrace, according to the AP.

According to a court filing from his attorneys, Hastert is “profoundly sorry” for the harm he caused others decades ago. The attorneys also contend that Hastert “reshaped his life” many years ago. Hastert, however, does not acknowledge he sexually abused his students during his years at YHS.

Hastert, who resides in Plano, was hospitalized last fall.

Prosecutors are expected to seek at least some prison time this week when they file their own sentencing papers, in which the government could also offer more details about Hastert’s actions that underpinned the banking charge.

Hastert left YHS in 1981 after he was sworn-in to his first of three terms as a state representative. He was elected to Congress in 1986.

At least four people have made “credible allegations of sexual abuse” against former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, according to a report Thursday in the Chicago Tribune,

The Associated Press reported the newspaper has determined the identities of three accusers, all of them men whose allegations stem from when they were teenagers and Hastert was their coach at Yorkville High School more than three decades ago. One of the accusers is dead. The other two accusers have been described in court documents only as Individual A and Individual D. Individual A declined to make any comment when approached by the newspaper. Individual D spoke privately to the newspaper, according to the Tribune.

The newspaper did not name any of the men who are still alive and it said it did not know the identity of the fourth accuser and offered no details about that person, according to the AP.

The AP previously identified the now-deceased accuser as Stephen Reinboldt, a team equipment manager at YHS, where Hastert worked as a teacher and wrestling coach from 1965 to 1981. Individual A and Individual D, were popular standout athletes in Yorkville from well-known families, according to the Tribune report.

Reinboldt’s sister, Jolene Burdge of Billings, Montana, has told the AP her brother told her his first homosexual experience was with Hastert and that the sexual abuse lasted throughout his time at Yorkville. Reinboldt died in 1995.

The 74 year-old Hastert, who served as U.S. Speaker of the House from 1999 to 2007, is scheduled to be sentenced April 27 in federal court in Chicago. He pleaded guilty last fall to violating banking laws while seeking to pay $3.5 million in hush money to ensure Individual A stayed quiet about unspecified past misconduct by Hastert against that person. According to court documents, Hastert managed to pay $1.7 million to Individual A in lump sums of $100,000 cash and abruptly stopped making the payments in 2014 after the FBI questioned him about the large cash withdrawals.

The AP noted key aspects of the case have been shrouded in secrecy, starting Hastert’s indictment by federal prosecutors last May 28. The seven-page document only vaguely hints at Hastert’s motivations for breaking banking law. Only two weeks ago – at an unannounced court hearing – did the judge and attorneys first broach sexual-abuse allegations in a mostly empty courtroom as they discussed Individual D possibly testifying at Hastert’s sentencing.

The AP and other media outlets, citing unnamed sources, previously reported that Hastert wanted to hide claims he sexually molested someone.

In papers filed Wednesday, Hastert’s lawyers asked Judge Thomas M. Durkin to spare Hastert time behind bars and give him probation instead, citing his deteriorating health and the steep price they say he has already paid in shame and disgrace, according to the AP.

According to a court filing from his attorneys, Hastert is “profoundly sorry” for the harm he caused others decades ago. The attorneys also contend that Hastert “reshaped his life” many years ago. Hastert, however, does not acknowledge he sexually abused his students during his years at YHS.

Hastert, who resides in Plano, was hospitalized last fall.

Prosecutors are expected to seek at least some prison time this week when they file their own sentencing papers, in which the government could also offer more details about Hastert’s actions that underpinned the banking charge.

Hastert left YHS in 1981 after he was sworn-in to his first of three terms as a state representative. He was elected to Congress in 1986.

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