Court Doc: Hastert’s Lawyers Say A ‘Groin Rub’ Isn’t Sexual Assault

Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

In a court filing in the criminal case against former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) arising from his alleged sexual abuse of minors when he was a wrestling coach, his lawyers questioned whether an alleged “groin rub” amounted to “sexual misconduct.”

The lawyers said the incident, as described by one of the accusers, “remains ambiguous” and that the accuser in his interview with the authorities said he was “‘not sure if [Dennis] touched [Individual A’s] genitals or brushed his genitals.'”

“While undoubtedly many would consider this episode as described by [Individual A], consisting of a groin rub for a groin pull and a massage, to be misconduct, we are not so certain that the incident qualifies as sexual misconduct, especially for a coach and trainer forty-two years ago,” Hastert’s lawyers wrote.

“Regardless of the characterization, Dennis deeply regrets that the episode occurred,” they added.

The documented was unsealed Wednesday and first reported on by the Chicago Tribune. It was in filed in response to a sentencing recommendation by probation officers that Hastert serve prison time for lying to federal authorities investigating whether he was structuring payments to avoid legal reporting requirements.

In the document, Hastert’s lawyers referred to their previous suggestion that the “groin rub” does not amount to sexual misconduct to argue that characterization should not be used against him in regards to the upcoming sentencing.

According to the Tribune, prosecutors said in a court filing Friday that “Individual A” alleged that Hastert offered to check out a groin pull the individual had been complaining about while staying with Hastert in a motel room on a trip back from wrestling camp. Hastert then had the individual remove his underwear and he began to massage the groin area, the prosecutors’ filing alleged.

Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: