A woman on Friday came forward to ABC News to allege that her late brother was sexually abused by former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) when the brother was a high school student.
Jolene Reinboldt told the news outlet that her late brother, Steve, came to her in 1979 — eight years after he had left high school — to reveal that he was gay. When she asked him who he had his first sexual experience with, she said Steve responded, “It was with Dennis Hastert.”
“[Steve] just told me the basics. I believed him 100 percent,” she told ABC News. “But he never went into any details — where it happened, or what the sexual experiences were like, anything like that.”
Jolene Reinboldt said her brother told her Hastert, who was a high school teacher and coach in Yorkville, Illinois before being elected to Congress, abused him throughout his four years of high school. Steve Reinboldt was the student manager for the wrestling team, which Hastert coached, and he was also a member of the Explorers troop Hastert ran, she said.
Hastert was indicted last month on bank-related charges stemming from his alleged agreement in 2010 to pay $3.5 million to a person identified only as “Individual A.” Prosecutors said the payment was intended to conceal and compensate for “prior misconduct” against the person that had occurred years earlier.
Steve Reinboldt died of AIDS in 1995, according to ABC News, and is not “Individual A.”
Some news outlets have reported, citing anonymous law enforcement sources, that “Individual A” was a male student whom Hastert sexually abused during his time as a high school teacher and coach. BuzzFeed News also cited anonymous sources familiar with Hastert’s case who said federal prosecutors considered bringing additional charges against Hastert in regards to an “Individual B.”
Reinboldt’s sister told the news outlet that Hastert attended her brother’s funeral and she confronted the former speaker there about the abuse.
“I said, ‘I want to know why you did what you did to my brother.’ And he just stood there and stared at me,” she told ABC News. “He didn’t say, ‘What are you talking about?’ you know, [or], ‘What? I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ He just stood there and stared at me. Then I just continued to say, ‘I want you to know your secret didn’t die in there with my brother. And I want you to remember that I’m out here and that I know.’ And again, he just stood there and he did not say a word.”
Reinboldt’s sister first contacted ABC News and another news organization about Hastert’s alleged abuse of her brother in 2006, after then-Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) resigned from Congress amid a scandal involving sexually explicit messages he exchanged with male interns. ABC News said that it couldn’t corroborate her story at the time.
Jolene Reinboldt also told ABC News that the FBI contacted her two weeks ago to talk about Hastert. She said she got the agency’s message just days before the indictment against the former speaker was unveiled. The FBI declined to comment to ABC News.
Hastert has yet to comment publicly on both the charges against him and the allegations of sexual abuse. He’s scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in U.S. district court in Chicago.
Watch below via ABC News: