Feds say there were 5 Hastert victims, offer other stunning details
State Rep. Dennis Hastert savors his Congressional victory at his campaign office in the Baker Hotel in St. Charles, Ill. on Nov. 5, 1986.(Don Casper / Chicago Tribune)
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert leaves after his guilty plea at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago on Oct. 28, 2015.(Zbigniew Bzdak, Chicago Tribune)
(Antonio Perez, Chicago Tribune)
(Zbigniew Bzdak, Chicago Tribune)
(Terrence A. James, Chicago Tribune)
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, second from right, is led by Sidley Austin attorney John Gallo as they make their way through the media gathering at Chicago’s Dirksen U.S. Courthouse on June 9, 2015. Hastert was in court for his arraignment on charges he evaded bank regulations and lied to the FBI.(Zbigniew Bzdak, Chicago Tribune)
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert makes his way from his Plano home to a limousine waiting in his driveway June 9, 2015. Hastert was due in federal court later in the day, accused of evading bank regulations and lying to the FBI.(Warren Skalski, for the Chicago Tribune)
U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., announces his retirement to reporters and supporters Aug. 17, 2007, in Yorkville.(Antonio Perez, Chicago Tribune)
Former Gov. Jim Edgar, left, and former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert greet people during an Illinois Business Immigration Coalition event April 22, 2014, in Chicago.(Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune)
Cardinal Francis George, left, and former House Speaker Dennis Hastert talk after each spoke about the need for immigration reform during a conference at DePaul University on Feb., 4, 2014.(Abel Uribe, Chicago Tribune)
Former U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert takes part in a panel discussion at Wheaton College on Oct. 30, 2012.(Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune)
Former U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert at a panel discussion at Wheaton College on Oct. 30, 2012.(Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune)
Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, right, and Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, notice that Hastert is wearing the same tie as in his portrait during the painting’s official unveiling at the U.S. Captiol on July 28, 2009, in Washington.(Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images)
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert and former Gov. Rod Blagojevich talk with reporters after a meeting with legislative leaders to discuss the budget July 31, 2008, in Chicago.(Alex Garcia, Chicago Tribune)
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Northern Illinois University Chairwoman Cherilyn Murer and Dr. Allan Thornton, Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute medical adviser, talk at a groundbreaking for the Northern Illinois Proton Treatment and Research Center at the DuPage National Technology Park on June 19, 2008, in West Chicago.(Chuck Berman, Chicago Tribune)
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert enjoys his visit March 5, 2008, to the Illinois House at the state Capitol in Springfield. Hastert was being honored by Illinois lawmakers for his many years of legislative service.(Seth Perlman, AP)
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert walks through Statuary Hall on his way to the House floor to make his farewell address to Congress on Nov. 15, 2007, in Washington(Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images)
House Speaker Dennis Hastert thanks supporter Sondra Hecox of St. Charles on election night Nov. 7, 2006, at the Baker Hotel in St. Charles.(Bonnie Trafelet, Chicago Tribune)
House Speaker Dennis Hastert, left, introduces the new House Majority Leader, Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, center, after he defeated Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., right, on Feb. 2, 2006. Blunt had assumed the position on an interim basis after Rep. Tom DeLay stepped down following his indictment.(Pete Souza, Chicago Tribune)
House Speaker Dennis Hastert, right, listens to interim House Majority Leader Roy Blunt, R-Mo., on Sept. 28, 2005, after House Majority Leader Tom DeLay stepped down from his leadership position following his indictment.(Pete Souza, Chicago Tribune)
Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, left, greets former Illinois Gov.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 18, 2005.(Pete Souza, Chicago Tribune)
Warrenville Mayor Vivian M. Lund and U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert talk March 23, 2005, after a ceremonial signing of an agreement with the Kerr-McGee chemical company for the removal of radioactive pollutants in Kress Creek and the west branch of the DuPage River.(John Dziekan, Chicago Tribune)
Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert walks through the U.S. Capitol building, August 4, 2004 in Washington D.C. flanked by security and members of his staff. Hastert had held the position of Speaker for 6 years and recently wrote a book detailing his life and career.(Steven Rosenberg / Chicago Tribune)
Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert in his office at the U.S. Capitol on August 4, 2004.(Steven Rosenberg / Chicago Tribune)
U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, left, Speaker Dennis Hastert and House Minority Leader
U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert waves as he is introduced as speaker of the House by Rep.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert signs Dana Balicki’s boxing robe during a celebration of the expansion of the Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora on Aug. 27, 2002.(Abel Uribe, Chicago Tribune)
House Speaker Dennis Hastert awaits a television interview on election night in Aurora on Nov. 6, 2002.(E. Jason Wambsgans, Chicago Tribune)
House Speaker Dennis Hastert signs an autograph for Kate Stjefbold, 9, at Sandwich Fairground in Sandwich on July 19, 2002.(Michael Walker, for the Chicago Tribune)
Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, left, and House Speaker Dennis Hastert hold up sample tax cut checks during a Republican rally at the U.S. Capitol on Aug. 2, 2001, to celebrate all they’ve accomplished during the congressional session.(Pete Souza, Chicago Tribune)
President George W. Bush, right, chats with Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert during a Congressional Medal of Honor ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on July 26, 2001.(Pete Souza, Chicago Tribune)
President George W. Bush shakes hands with Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, right, after addressing a joint session of Congress and a national television audience at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 28, 2001. Vice President Dick Cheney, center, applauds Bush.(Pete Souza, Chicago Tribune)
U. S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert holds a news conference Feb. 12, 2001, on the driveway of his home in Yorkville to let the media know that he is fine after surgery the night before to alleviate discomfort from kidney stones.(Mario Petitti, Chicago Tribune)
Senate Majority Leader
Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert speeds off Sept. 22, 1999, while driving a minicar in the third annual “Capitol Hill Challenge,” for the Kmart Kids Race Against Drugs.(Pete Souza, Chicago Tribune)
House Speaker Dennis Hastert greets supporters on election night, Nov. 7, 2000, in Aurora.(Stephanie Sinclair, Chicago Tribune)
House Speaker Dennis Hastert is prepped for a CBS news show on election night, Nov. 7, 2000, in Aurora.(Stephanie Sinclair, Chicago Tribune)
U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert watches as fishing instructor Owen Owens tries to untangle his line from a tree during an early-morning fishing trip to Valley Forge State Park in Pennsylvania on July 31, 2000.(Stephanie Sinclair, Chicago Tribune)
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, left, speaks during a City Hall news conference as U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert whispers to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, right. The news conference in 1999 announced the partial federal funding of the reconstruction of Chicago’s Lower Wacker Drive and completion of the Stevenson Expressway repairs.(Chris Walker, Chicago Tribune)
U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, right, and U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, center, applaud as third-grader Kiara Hastings, left, finishes her introductory speech during the congressmen’s visit to the Arna Bontemps Public School in the Englewood neighborhood June 1, 1999.(John Lee, Chicago Tribune)
Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert poses for a photo with eighth-grade American history students after speaking to them at Batavia Middle School on May 10, 1999.(Mario Petitti, Chicago Tribune)
(Pete Souza, Chicago Tribune)
Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert poses with a couple who recognized him as he departed the National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 17, 1999, in Washington. A plainclothes Capitol police officer stands guard as Hastert aide Sam Lancaster takes the picture.(Pete Souza, Chicago Tribune)
Dennis Hastert appears at a Yorkville radio station in 1999.(Candice C. Cusic, Chicago Tribune)
Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert gets his hair cut by Chuck Wolfe, owner of Chuck’s in Yorkville, on Feb. 16, 1999.(Candice C. Cusic, Chicago Tribune)
Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert pays the check at the Cozy Corner Family Restaurant in Yorkville on Feb. 16, 1999.(Candice C. Cusic, Chicago Tribune)
Jean Hastert sits with her husband, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, and family friend Bob Williams inside the Cozy Corner Family Restaurant in Yorkville on Feb. 16, 1999.(Candice C. Cusic, Chicago Tribune)
Vice President Al Gore, left, and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert applaud President Bill Clinton before his State of the Union address Jan. 19, 1999, in Washington, D.C.(Pete Souza, Chicago Tribune)
Newly elected U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, right, and Mayor
Dennis Hastert, new Speaker of the House, is congratulated by Democratic Minority Leader Dick Gephardt on Jan. 6, 1999.(Pete Souza, Chicago Tribune)
Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., with his wife, Jean, at his side, speaks at a news conference Jan. 5, 1999, in Washington.(Pete Souza, Chicago Tribune)
State Rep. Dennis Hastert, R-Yorkville, speaks about a public utilities bill June 21, 1985, in Springfield.(John W. Cary, UPI)
State Reps. Dennis Hastert and Jane Barnes speak in 1983 on the bipartisan Illinois Legislative Investigating Commission at the State of Illinois Building in Chicago. The group studied child abuse. Rep. Aaron Jaffe, D-Skokie, and Hastert, R-Oswego, co-chaired the group.(Val Mazzenga, Chicago Tribune)
State Rep. Dennis Hastert campaigns for Congress in 1986 in Aurora.(David Butow, Chicago Tribune)
State Rep. Dennis Hastert, 39th District.(Chicago Tribune historical photo)
Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert in a photo from a 1973 Yorkville High School yearbook when he was the school’s wrestling coach.(Handout)
Dennis Hastert in a photo in the 1966 Yorkville High School yearbook, the first year he taught at the school.(Handout)
Dennis Hastert sexually abused five students decades ago when he was a high school teacher and wrestling coach, federal prosecutors said in a lengthy court filing Friday night that gave stunning new details of the former House speaker’s alleged misconduct.
The 26-page filing also said Hastert had claimed he was the victim of extortion after authorities approached him in late 2014 about his withdrawals of hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash from several banks. But after asking Hastert to make two secretly recorded calls to the man he accused of extortion — identified only as Individual A — authorities ultimately concluded that Hastert had sexually abused him decades earlier.
Four of the victims were wrestlers for Hastert at Yorkville High School, prosecutors said, while the fifth was an equipment manager for the wrestling team.
Two of the wrestlers told authorities that Hastert performed a sex act on them on one occasion, while the two other victims alleged that Hastert had inappropriately touched them once while giving them massages. Prosecutors did not identify any of the former wrestlers.
Hastert’s misconduct came to light after a bank in Yorkville noticed numerous $50,000 cash withdrawals by Hastert between June 2010 and April 2012, according to prosecutors.
When a bank official contacted Hastert to ask about the withdrawals, the former lawmaker said it was none of his business, but when he was pressed, he claimed in part that he was withdrawing the cash to buy stocks.
After that, Hastert began to withdraw cash in increments of less than $10,000, leading the Yorkville bank to close his account because of his suspicious activity, prosecutors said.
It wasn’t until late 2014 that authorities decided to interview Hastert about what turned out to be his withdrawal of $1.7 million in cash over the previous 4 1/2 years. Hastert claimed he didn’t trust banks and wanted his cash “in a safe place,” according to the filing.
Shortly after that interview, lawyers for Hastert told authorities that the former House speaker was a victim of an extortion plot and would cooperate in an investigation. Hastert claimed that Individual A had falsely accused him of inappropriately touching him decades ago when he was coach, according to prosecutors.
At the request of authorities in March 2015, Hastert secretly recorded a call to Individual A and professed that he was having problems with banks and needed more time to get him the money.
But agents were surprised to hear Individual A say he understood and not issue any threats, the filing said.
Authorities then decided to question Individual A, who told them about how Hastert had him stay in a motel room overnight with him while returning from a wrestling camp. Individual A had complained about a groin pull, so Hastert said he wanted to check it out and began massaging his groin area after telling him to remove his underwear, prosecutors said.
When it became clear that Hastert was touching him in an inappropriate way, Individual A jumped off the bed, but he said he was confused and embarrassed and apologized to Hastert. He told authorities Hastert massaged his back and the two slept on the same bed.
But when the team stayed a second night in the same motel, Individual A said he refused Hastert’s order to spend the night in his room, the filing said.
Individual B, another wrestler, told authorities that when he was 14 Hastert started to massage him while they were alone in the locker room and that Hastert then performed a sex act on him.
Jolene Burdge poses at her home on April 6, 2016, in Billings, Mont. She said her brother, Stephen Reinboldt, was sexually abused by former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert when Reinboldt was a student and Hastert was a wrestling coach and teacher at Yorkville High School. Burdge is expected to give a victim-impact statement at Hastert’s sentencing.(John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Stephen Reinboldt, shown in the 1971 Yorkville High School yearbook, was an equipment manager for the football and wrestling teams at the school.(Yorkville High School)
Then coach Dennis Hastert stands above then high school junior Stephen Reinboldt in a wrestling team photo from the 1970 Yorkville High School yearbook. Reinboldt was listed as team manager.(Yorkville High School yearbook)
Jolene Burdge and her brother, Stephen Reinboldt, in 1979.(Provided by Jolene Burdge)
Stephen Reinboldt in a family photo from 1980. Reinboldt died of AIDS in August 1995 at age 42.(Provided by Jolene Burdge)
A laminated news clipping from the Aurora Beacon News of Stephen Reinboldt’s obituary from 1995, courtesy of Jolene Burdge, photographed at her home April 6, 2016, in Billings, Mont.(John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Signature from Dennis Hastert in a memorial book from the 1995 funeral of Stephen Reinboldt. Hastert attended his funeral. Jolene Burdge, Reinboldt’s sister, says she confronted Hastert at the funeral about the alleged sexual abuse of her brother.(John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
The grave of Stephen Reinboldt is seen in Elmwood Cemetery on April 5, 2016, in Yorkville. Reinboldt’s sister alleges he was sexually abused as a student at Yorkville High School by Dennis Hastert.(Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
The former Yorkville High School, where Dennis Hastert taught and coached wrestling from 1965 to 1981, shown April 5, 2016.(Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
An oversized ice cream cone sits next to a restaurant near the site of the former Tastee Freez on April 5, 2016, in Yorkville.(Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
A man walks along the road near the intersection of East Hydraulic and North Bridge streets on April 5, 2016, in Yorkville.(Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
A school bus crosses railroad tracks near the intersection of East Hydraulic and North Bridge streets April 5, 2016, in Yorkville. During his years as a teacher and coach at Yorkville High School, Dennis Hastert was active in the community, driving his antique firetruck in parades and volunteering in local youth organizations.(Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)
Another wrestler identified only as Individual D recalled that Hastert often put a reclining chair in the locker room so he had a clear view while the boys showered.
One day when he was 17, Individual D stayed after practice to cut weight, and Hastert told him that a massage could take pounds off. Hastert then performed a sex act on him, prosecutors allege.
Individual C, also a wrestler, said he also stayed late one day after practice to cut weight. Individual C said he didn’t think it was that unusual when Hastert asked him if he wanted a massage since the coach often treated injuries. But his towel came off, exposing his genitals, and Hastert brushed his hand against his genitals, prosecutors allege.
Prosecutors said Hastert’s life was “marred by stunning hypocrisy,” noting that in his memoir, the former House speaker reflected on his career as a wrestling coach, writing that there was “never a sufficient reason to strip away a person’s dignity.”
“Yet that is exactly what he did to his victims,” prosecutors wrote. “He made them feel alone, ashamed, guilty and devoid of dignity. While (Hastert) achieved great success, reaping all the benefits that went with it, these boys struggled, and all are still struggling now with what (he) did to them.”
Prosecutors did not specifically ask for prison time for Hastert, saying he should be sentenced within the recommended guideline range of probation to up to six months in custody.
Earlier this week, Hastert’s lawyers filed court papers seeking probation for the former lawmaker. The defense filing said Hastert was “profoundly sorry” for the harm he caused others decades ago but stopped short of acknowledging accusations that he sexually abused students. In fact, his lawyers singled out his teaching and coaching background for praise, saying he chose that career path “to make a difference in the lives of young people.”
Hastert pleaded guilty in October to a felony count of illegally structuring cash withdrawals to evade bank currency reporting requirements, but underlying that dry charge were the bombshell allegations that Hastert had agreed to pay $3.5 million to Individual A to keep quiet about misconduct decades ago.
On Thursday, the Tribune reported that at least three other people in addition to Individual A had made what law enforcement sources said were credible allegations of sexual abuse against Hastert. The newspaper has determined the identities of three of them, all men, whose allegations stretch over a decade when they were teenagers and Hastert was their coach.
Reinboldt’s sister, Jolene Burdge, has long spoken out about the details she said her brother shared with her before his death from AIDS in 1995. She plans to read a victim impact statement at Hastert’s April 27 sentencing.
Individual D may also address the court at Hastert’s sentencing. Individual D has talked to the Tribune at length but has not agreed to be named.
The Tribune has also learned the identity of Individual A, but he declined to talk to reporters.
The victim testimony could prove crucial in determining whether Hastert gets prison time.
While his plea agreement with prosecutors recommends a sentence ranging from probation to up to six months in prison, the lowest possible sentence under federal guidelines for a felony conviction, U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin has noted that he is free to sentence Hastert to up to five years in prison.
In their filing Wednesday, Hastert’s attorneys recounted his rise from humble beginnings as a small-town schoolteacher to the longest-serving Republican House speaker in U.S. history. His “swift and devastating” fall from grace after his bombshell indictment in 2015 left him in a “state of despair caused by extreme isolation and the withdrawal of support from many friends and former colleagues,” the filing stated.
The filing also noted Hastert’s fragile medical condition, saying he had nearly died of a rare blood infection during his first week in a hospital. For the first time, Hastert’s lawyers in Wednesday’s filing described a stroke he suffered in the hospital as a minor one.
Hastert, 74, often uses a wheelchair and needs assistance getting out of bed, going to the bathroom, bathing and dressing himself, the filing said.
Burdge, 54, of Billings, Mont., said the memo issued by Hastert’s lawyers had outraged her.
“Reading this makes me sick, almost like I did the wrong thing to a man who has ‘done so much good for his community and country,’'' she said. “It’s so twisted.”
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