ABC News reported this morning on another alleged victim of former U.S. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and revealed that it was told Hastert was a child predator nearly a decade ago. (Story: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/exclusive-alleged-dennis-hastert-sex-abuse-victim-named/story?id=31530828)
ABC interviewed a woman whose brother, Steve Reinboldt, said he was sexually abused by Hastert, then a teacher, all through high school. The report also shows photos of Hastert taking a group of boys to the Bahamas on an Explorer Troop outing. Reinboldt died in 1995.
In a conversation between ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos and correspondent Brian Ross, the two discuss the fact that Reinboldt’s sister Jolene came to them “about nine years ago.” The two reporters attempt no explanation for failing to investigate and report on the allegations, implying their hands were tied:
Stephanopoulos: “Brian, she’s been trying to get this story out for a long time.”
Ross: “Right, she contacted us and other members of the news media about nine years ago, off the record. But she said that she watched Hastert rise to prominence as Speaker of the House and it just made her angrier and angrier and now she finally decided to go public with the allegations.”
Of course, in going to ABC and other news outlets, Reinboldt’s sister was trying to find journalists who would investigate and report her brother’s story. News media often decline to investigate or report controversial stories unless sources first make a public accusation, then report on the accusation itself.
Former Congressman Mell Watt admitted recently that he was also told of Hastert’s crimes, nearly 15 years ago, causing some lawmakers to speculate about whether Hastert’s secret was being used against him on Capitol Hill. (story: http://thehill.com/homenews/house/243816-hastert-questions-consume-capitol)