Hastert Molested At Least Four Boys: Prosecutors

Former U.S. Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, has molested at least four boys, according to federal prosecutors.

Hastert cannot be charged because the statue of limitations has expired, reports the New York Times. The victims are at least 14 years old and the molestation took place while he was working as a wrestling coach between the 1960s and 1980s, according to prosecutors.

“The actions at the core of this case took place not on the defendant’s national public stage but in his private one-on-one encounters in an empty locker room and a motel room with minors that violated the special trust between those young boys and their coach,” the prosecutors wrote.

The New York Times quotes the prosecutors’ findings:

According to the prosecutors, Mr. Hastert gave one boy, a 14-year-old freshman wrestler, a massage in the locker room, then performed an unspecified sex act on him. Another boy, Stephen Reinboldt, who died in 1995, was sexually abused by Mr. Hastert throughout high school in the late 1960s and early 1970s, his sister and others told the prosecutors. A third boy, who was 17 and remembered Mr. Hastert sitting in a recliner-type chair with a direct view of the locker room shower stalls, said Mr. Hastert had told him that one way to make his wrestling weight was to get a massage, then performed a sexual act. And prosecutors said Mr. Hastert had massaged another boy’s groin area after asking the boy to stay in his hotel room during a wrestling camp.

That last incident appears to have been Hastert’s downfall. The alleged victim confronted Hastert about the incidents, and Hastert began paying the victim hush money, as large as US$3.5 million in at least one case, to keep the incidents quiet. The payments tipped off authorities, who began an investigation.

Andy Richter

Andy Richter

Comedian and Conan O’Brian sidekick, Andy Richter, recalled in a series of tweets the recliner detailed by prosecutors, reports USA Today.

“I went to Yorkville HS ’80-’84 & I remember this chair. Purportedly ‘to keep boys from fighting,'” Richter posted. “I haven’t thought of it in 30 years.”

“”tbh [To be honest], I don’t find it’s upsetting me now,” Richter wrote in a third post. “I’m just so struck by how easy it was to do that. Nobody questioned it.”

Hastert, 74, suffered a stroke last November while awaiting sentencing on charges he paid hush money to victims. The former House Speaker pleaded guilty last October of illegally structuring bank withdrawals to pay one of his victims, in an effort to hide the abuse.

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