(AP/Lauren Victoria Burke)

Dennis Hastert's teenage victim identified: Wrestling equipment manager who died of AIDS in 1995

Victim's sister says, "He damaged Steve I think more than any of us will ever know"


Joanna Rothkopf
June 5, 2015 6:30PM (UTC)

When Dennis Hastert was indicted for structuring currency transactions to avoid currency transaction reports and lying to the FBI, the former speaker's legacy was called into question. We soon learned that he had sexually abused an underage student while a wrestling coach at a Yorkville, IL high school.

On Friday morning, ABC News identified Hastert's alleged victim: Steve Reinbolt, the student equipment manager of the Yorkville wrestling team. Reinbolt died of AIDS in 1995.

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In an interview with ABC News' Brian Ross, Steve's sister Jolene recounted that she didn't learn of the sexual abuse until 1979, when Steve came out to her as gay. He had been out of high school for eight years.

"I asked him, when was your first same sex experience. He looked at me and said, 'It was with Dennis Hastert.' I was stunned," she said.

The abuse lasted the four years of Reinbolt's tenure as equipment manager, she said.

"Mr. Hastert had plenty of opportunities to be alone with Steve, because he was there before the meets. He was there after everything because he did the laundry, the uniforms. So he was there by himself with him."

She also said that she had been trying to expose Hastert for years, and had written to ABC News, another news outlet and several advocacy groups. Nobody reported the claims.

Jolene believes that the experience fundamentally shaped her brother: "He took his belief in himself and his kind of right to be a normal person," she said. "Here was the mentor, the man who was, you know, basically his friend and stepped into that parental role, who was the one who was abusing him... He damaged Steve I think more than any of us will ever know."

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Watch the full interview below:


ABC News Videos | ABC Entertainment News


Joanna Rothkopf

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Congress Dennis Hastert Jolene Reinbolt Sexual Abuse Speaker Of The House Steve Reinbolt Video

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