FOX 32 sits down with sister of Dennis Hastert victim
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Dennis Hastert was once third in line for the presidency. But on Wednesday, the former Speaker of the House will find out if he'll be heading to prison.
The Yorkville Republican is caught up in sex abuse scandal that surfaced last May and led to a guilty plea in October.
And now, FOX 32’s Larry Yellen sat down with the sister of one of the victims who will testify in court Wednesday.
There’s no word yet on whether Dennis Hastert himself will make a dramatic plea in open court, but we do know that his hearing will include emotional testimony from one of his victims and a woman who told FOX 32 that her brother was one of Hastert’s stepping stones.
FOX 32: What do you want to hear tomorrow from Dennis Hastert?
“I would like to hear him admit to the sexual abuse charges, that that's the whole crux of the story. The whole crux of the charges,” said Jolene Burdge.
Burdge is the sister of the late Stephen Reinboldt. She's says her brother was one of Dennis Hastert's victims. Burdge arrived in Chicago Tuesday night from her home in Montana. She's expected to tell her brother's story at Hastert’s sentencing.
Reinboldt was the student equipment manager for Hastert's wrestling teams in the late 1960s. He died of AIDs in 1995 at age 42.
“Hastert presented himself as someone that believed in him and wanted to be a part of his life, help him out, and it was for his own gain, it wasn't necessarily to help Steve out,” said Burdge.
The other prosecution witness expected to testify Wednesday is one of Hastert's five alleged victims. He says that when he was a 17-year-old wrestler at Yorkville, he was molested by coach Hastert in the locker room. Hastert does not dispute his story, but says he does not recall those events. Prosecutors have not indicated whether the witness will have his identity protected when he testifies. Hastert's attorneys say Hastert himself has paid a price.
In a recent court filing, they also told Judge Thomas Durkin, "By any measure, appearing before this Court to receive its sentence will be the most difficult day in Mr. Hastert's life."
FOX 32: How do you respond to the defense suggestion that her has lost a great deal and has suffered himself?
“That what he gained was pretty much all based on lies, and that he may have lost a lot, but Steve never had a chance to even gain anything. He never had a chance to live a life, to fulfill any of his dreams, anything that he wanted. So he was one of Hastert’s stepping stones,” Burdge said.
Sentencing guidelines call for sentence of anywhere from probation to six months, but those are just guidelines, and Judge Durkin could go as high as five years. Another issue will be whether Hastert should be tested as a sex offender, using a lie detector to ask about other possible victims.