Speaker Denny Hastert-- Another Republican Party Child Rapist
In 2006 Blue America was backing progressive John Laesch's campaign against Speaker Denny Hastert. Rumors of Hastert's predatory behavior towards underage boys were rampant, including more than one letter from boys who claimed to have had sex with him, including a male prostitute who kept saying he would testify and then that he didn't want his name used. It went back and forth for almost the entire campaign. But, in the end, he refused to let us use his name and the Laesch campaign had no way of confirming if there was any truth behind the allegations. I spoke to several guys who said they had had sex with Hastert over the course over several decades... but no one wanted to go public; everyone was afraid.
Yesterday Good Morning America scooped the world with the story of one of Hastert's victims, Steve Reinboldt, who later died of AIDS. When Hastert raped him, he had never had sex with another male.
Jolene Burdge said Friday on ABC's Good Morning America that her late brother, Steve Reinboldt, was sexually abused by Dennis Hastert when the former Republican speaker of the House was an Illinois high school teacher and wrestling coach in the 1970s.
Burdge said she tried getting the word out to the media long before Hastert's indictment last week for lying to the FBI and evading banking laws in an effort to cover up alleged abuse.
ABC News acknowledged that Burdge had approached the network about Hastert in 2006 after former Republican Congressman Mark Foley was caught sending sexually explicit messages to a 16-year-old male page. In Friday's report, ABC noted that it "could not corroborate Jolene's allegation and Hastert denied the claim."
On Friday's GMA, chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross said Burdge had contacted them "off the record" nine years ago, but had only been willing to go public with the allegations more recently.
Burdge also approached The Associated Press in 2006, the news organization disclosed Friday. The AP reported Burdge "ultimately decided against coming forward with a statement at that time."
Brian Ross referred to the serial statutory rapes that Hastert was paying millions of dollars to cover up as sordid. The FBI was aware that Steve Reinboldt was one of the high school boys Hastert had been raping.
In an emotional interview, Steve Reinboldt’s sister Jolene said she first learned of her late brother’s purported years-long sexual abuse at the hands of the future Speaker of the House back in 1979 when her brother revealed to her that he was gay and had been out of high school for eight years.Hastert, who is laying low, is scheduled to be arraigned next week. So far Boehner has refused to respond to requests that Hastert's official Speaker portrait be removed from the House of Representatives. Other Republican closet cases who have been fooling around with boys as well-- like North Carolina's Patrick McHenry-- are ducking questions about Hastert. One congressman who served with Hastert told me that they had heard rumors that Hastert was a closet case but not that he was preying on under-age boys. Hastert is facing the justice system on charges stemming from banking irregularities as he withdrew money to pay for covering up his assaults against numerous children. The statute of limitations seems to preclude prosecuting him for the child rapes. And Congress... they routinely cover up this kind of ugliness. It wasn't just Hastert and Boehner and the GOP that covered up Mark Foley's criminal activities with under-age pages. Rahm Emanuel and Nancy Pelosi allowed Foley to walk away claiming he was guilty of nothing more than some inappropriate "naughty" emails.
“I asked him, when was your first same sex experience. He looked at me and said, ‘It was with Dennis Hastert,’” Jolene said. “I was stunned."
Jolene said she asked her brother why he never told anyone. “And he just turned around and kind of looked at me and said, ‘Who is ever going to believe me?’”
Jolene said that Steve told her the abuse lasted throughout Steve’s four years of high school as he served as team student manager. “Mr. Hastert had plenty of opportunities to be alone with Steve, because he was there before the meets,” she said. “He was there after everything because he did the laundry, the uniforms. So he was there by himself with him,” she added.
Her brother also spent time with Hastert as a member of an Explorers troop, which Hastert ran. Photos taken by her brother show Hastert with a group of boys on a diving trip to the Bahamas.
Reinboldt’s sister says she has no doubts about the veracity of what her brother told her 36 years ago.
“[Steve] just told me the basics. I believed him 100 percent. But he never went into any details-- where it happened, or what the sexual experiences were like, anything like that,” Jolene said.
Jolene said she believes the abuse ended when Steve moved away after his high school graduation in 1971. Reinboldt died of AIDS in 1995. She believes Hastert’s alleged actions irrevocably changed Steve's life for the worse.
“He took his belief in himself and his kind of right to be a normal person,” Jolene said. “Here was the mentor, the man who was, you know, basically his friend and stepped into that parental role, who was the one who was abusing him… He damaged Steve I think more than any of us will ever know.”
...In the two decades after Steve’s death, Jolene said that she tried to expose Hastert, even writing to ABC News and another news organization as well as some advocacy groups in 2006 after another congressman, Rep. Mark Foley, was discovered having sexually explicit message exchanges with an underage male page.
At the time ABC News could not corroborate Jolene's allegation and Hastert denied the claim... [J]ust two weeks ago, Jolene said she got a message from the FBI. They wanted to talk about Hastert.