J. Dennis Hastert—the former House speaker who allegedly spent several million dollars paying off a male teenage victim—has reportedly agreed to a plea deal which would effectively bury the details of his alleged sexual misconduct.
Prosecutors indicted the former politician this spring, alleging he had funneled as much as $3.5 million in hush money—paid in $10,000 increments—to a former student who had attended the high school where Hastert once taught and coached wrestling.
The charges concerned only banking fraud allegations in connection with hush money payments to a recipient identified only as “Individual A.” Subsequent reports indicated the so-called hush money was intended to bury allegations of unspecified sexual misconduct, though the former speaker has never been criminally charged.
Still Hastert, who initially pleaded not guilty and was set to go to trial, reportedly reached the agreement with prosecutors Thursday. He is expected to change his plea on Oct. 28, though it’s still unclear which of the charges he’s copping to and how long he’ll be going away for. (He was, prior to the agreement, facing up to ten years in jail plus fines.)
But the deal also means the details of the sexual misconduct may never become public: thanks to the agreement, Hastert won’t have to testify about the details of his payments. And neither will the student, believed to be Steve Reinboldt, who reportedly died in 1995.
Even so, Reinboldt’s sister appears to have filled in some of the details:
“I asked him, when was your first same sex experience. He looked at me and said, ‘It was with Dennis Hastert,’” Jolene said. “I was stunned.”
Jolene said she asked her brother why he never told anyone. “And he just turned around and kind of looked at me and said, ‘Who is ever going to believe me?’”
Jolene said that Steve told her the abuse lasted throughout Steve’s four years of high school as he served as team student manager. “Mr. Hastert had plenty of opportunities to be alone with Steve, because he was there before the meets,” she said. “He was there after everything because he did the laundry, the uniforms. So he was there by himself with him,” she added.
The details of Hastert’s agreement are expected to be made public on his next court appearance.