Woman Alleges Hastert Abused Her Brother
'Mr. Hastert can't pull this wool over everybody's eyes,' she tells ABC News
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2015 7:24 AM CDT
In this June 15, 2007, file photo, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., sits for a portrait in his Capitol Hill office.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

(Newser) – In a bombshell interview with ABC News, a woman alleges Dennis Hastert sexually abused her brother. Jolene Reinboldt Burdge reveals details of what reportedly happened so many years ago, as well as her brother's name—and says that she's not the "Individual A" named in Hastert's federal indictment. Burdge says her now-deceased brother, Steve Reinboldt, first told her of his alleged "years-long" abuse at the hands of Hastert in 1979 after he had been out of high school for eight years and decided to tell her he was gay. "I asked him, when was your first same sex experience. He looked at me and said, 'It was with Dennis Hastert,'" Burdge tells ABC. "I was stunned." When she asked him why he hadn't told anyone, she says he replied, "Who is ever going to believe me?" According to Burdge, her brother revealed he had been abused for four years during his role as the student manager for Yorkville High School's wrestling team, which Hastert coached.

When Reinboldt died of AIDS in 1995, Burdge says Hastert was "brash" enough to show up at the funeral, where she confronted him. "He just stood there and he did not say a word," she says. Burdge says she tried to expose Hastert over the next 20 years, including to ABC News and other media; ABC News reports it couldn't verify her account at the time. She says it was hard for her to watch Hastert rise in the government ranks, but she finally gave up the fight—until the FBI called her two weeks ago. She adds that she doesn't know who "Individual A" is, but that it's likely someone who also knew what happened to her brother. "I can't believe the audacity of that man and how he thinks he will get away with it," she says. "I feel vindicated and that Steve's vindicated, that Mr. Hastert can't pull this wool over everybody's eyes. Finally the truth comes out."