Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) walks through Statuary Hall on his way to the House floor to make his farewell address to Congress on Nov., 15, 2007 in Washington, D.C.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty

What the Dennis Hastert documents reveal in the sexual abuse allegations


The government’s pre-sentencing report in the Dennis Hastert hush money case for the first time outlines the sexual abuse allegations against the former House Speaker and contains many new details about the investigation.

Here are some of the key points from the document filed in Illinois federal court late Friday evening:

Four boys

The court papers detail accusations by four men, described as “victims” by prosecutors, who say they were molested.

RELATED: Former House Speaker Hastert abused 4 boys: Prosecutors

Individual A is the former Yorkville High School wrestler at the center of the case, who was named in the indictment charging Hastert with illegally structuring bank withdrawals of money he was using to pay off his former student.

Individual B is another former wrestler who alleges that Hastert molested him in a locker room. His existence is revealed for the first time in the prosecutors’ filing.

Individual D told prosecutors he also was sexually abused by Hastert during a massage in the locker room. His existence was first noted in a court filing last month but the details of his story are only now being made public.

The fourth is Steven Reinboldt, a wrestling team equipment manager who died of AIDS in 1995. His sister came forward last year after Hastert was indicted, and she told the media her brother was abused throughout high school.

The filing also discusses a fifth ex-wrestler, Individual C, who describes an “uncomfortable” and “very weird” locker-room encounter with Hastert in which the coach brushed his hand against his genitals but concedes that it could have been accidental.

‘Empty locker room and motel room’

Last year’s indictment against Hastert made no reference to sexual abuse but the pre-sentencing report details how he allegedly isolated and preyed on his charges when they were as young as 14.

Individual A had to share a room with Hastert during a team trip, prosecutors said. Under the guise of a massage for a groin injury he inappropriately touched the boy, the court papers say. Later, while he was wearing only underwear, Hastert had the teen give him a back rub in bed, prosecutors said.

Individuals B and D each told investigators that while Hastert was giving them a massage after practice, he performed a sexual act on them.

And Individual D said he remembered Hastert placing a La-Z-Boy-type chair in the locker room, which was “in direct view of the shower stalls,” the documents said. Hastert would sit in the chair while the boys showered, Individual D said, according to prosecutors.

Comedian Andy Richter, who went to Yorkville High School, tweeted late Friday that he recalled the chair, which he said was allegedly placed in the locker room “ ‘to keep boys from fighting.’”

Richter, who is Conan O’Brien’s sidekick, said in a separate tweet that he hadn’t thought about the chair in three decades. He responded to a tweet from MSNBC’s Chris Hayes saying he isn’t upset all these years later by the presence of the chair, but he’s “just so struck by how easy it was to do that.”

“Nobody questioned it,” Richter wrote.

Hastert played victim card

After his illegal bank withdrawals attracted the scrutiny of investigators, Hastert lied about why he was taking out the money and then later had his lawyer contact them to report he was “the victim of an extortion plot” involving a bogus sexual abuse claim by Individual A.

The FBI had Hastert record conversations with Individual A but found that his interactions with the ex-pol “were inconsistent with someone committing extortion.”

RELATED: Dennis Hastert pleads guilty in hush-money case

The former student didn’t make any threats to pressure Hastert to come up with money more quickly and revealed that he had wanted a lawyer to broker a legal “agreement” but Hastert refused.

“Individual A said people ‘buy their way out of trouble’ all the time and there had to be a way to do it,” prosecutors said.

Victims have ‘struggled’

The report says the alleged abuse took an emotional toll on the boys.

“He made them feel alone, ashamed, guilty and devoid of dignity,” prosecutors wrote. “While the defendant achieved great success, and all the benefits that went with it, these boys struggled, and all are still struggling now with what the defendant did to them. Some of them have managed better than others, but all of them bear the scars defendant inflicted upon them… It is profoundly sad that one of their earliest sexual experiences was in the form of abuse by a man they trusted and whom they revered as a mentor and coach.”

In denial?

The report filed Friday says that in his sealed filings, Hastert suggested “ambiguity” about whether his contact with Individual A in the motel room constituted sexual misconduct.

“There is no ambiguity. Defendant sexually abused Individual A,” prosecutors countered.

Hastert also denied molesting Reinboldt in court papers, prosecutors said. “This cannot be,” they wrote, noting that Reinboldt confided in others about the abuse as early as 1973.

Hastert, who is 74 and in failing health, was never charged with sexual abuse because of the statute of limitations and he pleaded guilty only to a financial charge.

In his own pre-sentencing report, he expressed remorse and said he had “reshaped his life” many years ago.

He is asking the judge to sentence him to probation, but prosecutors are recommending six months in prison.

Hastert’s lawyer, Thomas Green, said in a statement Saturday that his client has already faced “significant punishment” in the form of shame and humiliation, which has “undoubtedly contributed to his fragile medical condition.”

“He earnestly apologizes to his former students, family, friends, previous constituents and all others affected by the harm his actions have caused,” Green said. “We note that for the last four decades he has made every effort to be a positive force in the lives of others.”

U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin will decide on a sentence on April 27, possibly after hearing testimony from Individual D and Reinboldt’s sister. 

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