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According to this ABC story, Dennis Hastert sexually abused Steve Reinbolt, the manager of the high school wrestling team Hastert coached, throughout the four years Reinbolt was a student at Yorkville High School, where Hastert taught between 1965 and 1981. Reinbolt graduated in 1971 and was born in August of 1953, so apparently the abuse started when he was 14.

Reinbolt died in 1995, so he is not “Individual A” in the indictment against Hastert.

Hastert, who by that point had been in the House for eight years, showed up at Reinbolt’s funeral. Reinbolt’s sister Jolene confronted him immediately after the service, and Hastert’s reaction left no doubt in her mind that the story Steve told her back in 1979, about how his first sexual encounter had been with Hastert when he was a high school freshman (this would be at a minimum statutory rape under Illinois law), was in fact true.

Jolene tried to expose Hastert in 2006, at the time of the Foley scandal. She approached ABC with the story, but ABC didn’t run it, because according to the network it couldn’t be corroborated at the time. This should raise some questions about how much, if any, further investigation ABC did, given that it’s extremely likely that Hastert victimized more than two of his students.

I can only imagine what Jolene (her last name isn’t given in the ABC story) went through in 1998, when Hastert was chosen to lead the impeachment of Bill Clinton. That she seemed to believe — probably correctly, given how all this subsequently played out — that she was powerless to do anything about that travesty at the time is a telling commentary on how powerless ordinary citizens feel before the majesty of the law, and the arrogant invulnerability of the good and the great.

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