Latest on Hastert: Friend: Reinboldt ‘nicest, kindest soul’, 2 News

A high school friend of Stephen Reinboldt, the man whose family says was sexually abused by former U.S. House speaker Dennis Hastert, says he was “the nicest, kindest soul.”

Pam Snell was a cheerleader when Reinboldt was the equipment manager for the wrestling team at Yorkville High School in Illinois. She remembers traveling with Reinboldt on team trips, and says he was someone who “was trying to be accepted.”

Reinboldt’s sister, Jolene Burdge, says her brother was abused by Hastert, who was a teacher and wrestling coach at the high school before his career in politics. Reinboldt died in 1995.

Burdge says her brother told her before he died that his first homosexual contact was with Hastert, and that it lasted through high school.


3:30 p.m. (CDT)

Several former members of Congress say there were no hints that Dennis Hastert had any personal problems when the Illinois Republican was U.S. House speaker.

Former U.S. Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia was a member of the House GOP leadership when Hastert became speaker.

He says that during the tumultuous days in 1998, when Republicans settled on Hastert to replace Newt Gingrich as speaker, they didn’t research his background. Davis says “there’s no time for internal vetting” during such a situation.

But looking back after last week’s indictment, Davis says it’s now obvious to him that Hastert was “fighting some demons.”

Former Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia says Republicans turned to Hastert to succeed Gingrich partly because “there wasn’t any inkling of anything” hidden in Hastert’s past.


This story has been corrected to show Hastert was chosen as U.S. House speaker in 1998, not 1999.


6:50 a.m. (CDT)

A Montana woman says the FBI interviewed her about her allegations that her brother had a sexual relationship with Dennis Hastert, the high school wrestling coach who became speaker of the House.

Hastert was charged last week in a federal indictment that alleges he agreed to pay $3.5 million to someone from Yorkville, the Illinois town where he taught and coached high school wrestling, so the person would stay quiet about “prior misconduct.”

Jolene Burdge of Billings, Montana, told The Associated Press Thursday that the FBI interviewed her in mid-May about Hastert. She says her brother told her before he died in 1995 that his first homosexual contact was with Hastert and that the abuse lasted throughout high school.

In an interview aired Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Burdge identified her brother as Stephen Reinboldt.

Full article: