A man who says he was sexually abused by Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert has been cleared to testify at Hastert’s upcoming sentencing hearing, along with the sister of another alleged victim.
Statements made during a confidential hearing in Hastert’s case, confirm for the first time what has only been hinted up to now: that Hastert’s case stems from allegations of sexual misconduct.
The newest information is contained in a transcript of that hearing, obtained by NBC5 Investigates. The transcript reveals that Hastert’s attorney, Thomas Green, argued against granting a requested delay to allow Individual D an opportunity to testify.
Prosecutor Steven Block said the witness, only identified as “Individual D”, had only recently come forward.
“He is deciding whether he would like to ask the Court to appear as a witness at the sentencing,” Block said. “He’s not a hundred percent certain he wants to do that, but he’s been moving in that direction.”
Gallo called the individual “a very unique witness, who we’re trying to be sensitive to, that he’s in a very difficult position.”
Hastert pled guilty to charges that he had hidden payments to another person, identified as “Individual A” who he had agreed to pay over $3 million to conceal past wrongs. That person, and the alleged wrongdoing, were never specifically alluded to in the government’s public filings.
“I think there’s a compelling reason for getting the sentencing concluded, given my client’s health and physical situation,” he said. “You know, we feel very strongly that we would like to see this be completed as presently scheduled.”
Green likewise argued against the testimony of a second person, believed to be Jolene Burdge, who has stated in several media interviews that her brother Stephen Reinboldt told her of sexual abuse at the hands of Hastert when Reinboldt was a student and Hastert the wrestling coach at Yorkville High School. Reinboldt died in 1995 from complications from AIDS.
“I don’t know exactly what…she would offer or what benefit the court would receive from her hearsay statements,” Green said. And fellow defense attorney John Gallo suggested that what the young man would allege was not even in dispute.
“It is not our present intention to contest the allegations made by Individual D,” he said. “At the present time we have no intention of objecting to it.”
Block countered that both witnesses would offer something valuable as the Court makes a decision on Hastert’s sentence.
“It’s relevant information as to the defendant’s history and characteristics,” he said. “The fact that the defense may not challenge the specifics of what the defendant did to Mr. D does not mean the Court shouldn’t consider the effects on Individual D.”
“And the other witness we’ve been talking about….she certainly can provide useful information to the Court as to what the defendant’s conduct did to her, to her family,” he said.
It was then that the Judge Durkin himself confirmed what has only been suggested up to now.
“If Individual D wants to come in and talk about being a victim of sexual abuse, he’s entitled to do so,” he said. “He’s entitled to do so because that informs my decision about the history and characteristics of the defendant. It’s that simple.”
Durkin likewise said he wanted to hear from the woman, who is prepared to testify about her brother’s experiences with Hastert.
“If the government chooses to bring them in as live witnesses, they’re entitled to do so,” he said.
Block said Individual D is “inclined to appear in person” to seek the Court’s permission to make a statement or provide testimony.
The two sides agreed to move Hastert’s sentencing to April 27th.