Saturday, June 06, 2015

At Least One of Dennis Hastert Sex Abuse Victims Named by Family

Hastert and victim

The gay sex scandal swirling around former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert continues to grow as the family of one now deceased victim of abuse has come forward.  The actual individual - who many assume to be yet another Hastert victim - remains unidentified.   In grasping the full hypocrisy of Hastert it is important to remember that Hastert consistently voted against gay rights measures just like former Virginia 2nd District congressman Ed Schrock whom I helped to "out."  In Schrock's defense, at least he wasn't insidiously preying on minors like Hastert.  Schrock was a total hypocrite, but he wasn't a sexual predator. Again, it is noteworthy that it is almost always the "conservative," "family values" Republicans who are the ones that become embroiled in gay sex scandals.  ABC News has details on this development.  Here are highlights:
In Steve Reinboldt’s 1970 high school yearbook, wrestling coach Dennis Hastert wrote that Steve was his “great, right hand man” as the student equipment manager of the Yorkville, Illinois wrestling team. 

But Steve was also a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of Hastert, Steve’s sister said Friday in an interview with ABC News. It is the first time an alleged Hastert victim has been identified by name since his indictment for lying to the FBI and violating federal banking laws to cover-up past misconduct. Hastert, due in court next week, has not responded to the allegations. 

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. 

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. 

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.”

Her anger boiled over when she said Hastert was so “brash” as to show up at Steve’s funeral viewing.
“I was just there just trying to bite my tongue thinking that blood was coming out because I was just… So after he had gone through the line I followed him out into the parking lot of the funeral home,” Jolene said. “I said, ‘I want to know why you did what you did to my brother.’ And he just stood there and stared at me. 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.”  Hastert got in his car and drove away. Jolene said Hastert’s non-response “said everything.”
[F]or years, Jolene watched helplessly as Hastert basked in fame and power, seated to the left of the president for years in the early 2000s for the nationally-televised State of the Union address.

“I would just watch for a while and then I would just have to get up and leave the room and just, you know, either cry or scream,” Jolene said. “I can’t believe the audacity of that man and how he thinks he will get away with it.”

PHOTO: Dennis Hastert, right, plays cards with members of the Explorer's Club in the Bahamas.
Hastert at State of the Union
It's a sad and disturbing story much like that of priest who abused minors for years - often with the aiding and abetting of the Church hierarchy.   The ultimate irony is that the far right accuses gays of preying on or "recruiting" children and youths.  Gays who are out and open in their lives do not need to prey on youth and those we can intimidate like the Hasterts and predator priests of this world.  It is they, not gays, who are a threat to children and youths.  And, if the "godly Christians" would cease their war on gays, people like Hastert would hopefully not feel compelled to live hypocritcal double lives and there would be far fewer Steve Reinboldts.  Meanwhile, I wonder how many other victims Hastert preyed upon.

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