Dennis Hastert, the longest-serving Republican House speaker in history, pleaded guilty in federal court today in a hush-money case and could serve time in prison. But rather than focus on this feeble excuse for a man, let's remember his victims, like the late Steve Reinboldt and all of the other boys over whom he had control as a high-school wrestling coach.
IBT reports that Hastert was indicted in May on charges of evading bank regulations and making false statements to the FBI. Prosecutors alleged at the time that he agreed to pay $3.5 million to a person in Illinois to remain silent about “prior misconduct.” Hastert has been accused by two male students of sexual misconduct. Jolene Burdge -- Steve's sister -- said in the interview that she believes the abuse with her brother ended in 1971, when Steve left Yorkville after graduating from high school. Steve Reinboldt died of AIDS in 1995. Burdge said she believes Hastert’s alleged actions 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.”
Sadly, thanks to the plea deal he worked out with prosecutors, we will never know many of the details.
While in office, Hastert voted in favor of federal legislation to try and ban same-sex marriage. In his defense, he never voted against molesting boys.