The longest-serving Republican Speaker of the House in the history of the United States Congress is among the most despicable creatures on earth. Dennis Hastert was in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1982 until 2007, and was Speaker of the House from 1999 until 2007. He was a high school wrestling coach in Illinois from 1965 until his election to the House in 1981. During his tenure as a coach, he was a pedophile. Yes, you read that correctly, he was a pedophile who sexually abused at least four of the boys under his tutelage.
Hastert entered a guilty plea in October 2015, and will come before Judge Durkin next Wednesday, 27 April 2016, but technically not for sexual misconduct. He has been convicted only of “felony structuring,” which stems from his withdrawal of millions of dollars in increments of $10,000 or less to avoid bank reporting as required by law. The money was being used to buy the silence of one of the people he abused. Prosecutors have requested a six-month prison sentence, however his lawyers are trying to spin the case as one of a retired, sickly, 74-year-old man who has had a stroke and who has been punished enough. Six months for repeatedly molesting at least four children? The maximum sentence for the crime of which he was convicted is five years, which still is inadequate, but better than six months. I do not understand why he has not been charged with child sexual assault and abuse. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, nearly every state has a basic suspension of the statute of limitation for civil actions while a person is a minor. Many states have also adopted additional extensions specifically for cases involving sexual abuse of children. So, no matter how long ago, he should still face charges. Why not? Because he was a Congressman? Punished enough? Can this individual ever be “punished enough”? I think not. Now comes the kicker … and the purpose of this post …
Former House Majority Leader, Tom DeLay, has written a letter to Judge Durkin, asking for leniency for his old friend, Hastert! He characterizes Hastert as “a man of strong faith … and great integrity”. How, I ask you, can a man who abused children in the most horrific way possible, be a man of “great integrity”? A few of the more memorable lines from the letter:
- “We all have our flaws, but Dennis Hastert has very few.” So, pedophilia is just a little flaw???
- “He is a good man that loves the Lord. He gets his integrity and values from Him. He doesn’t deserve what he is going through.” Being religious does not absolve him from his heinous crime, it only adds the charge of hypocrisy! And people who sexually abuse children are NOT good people.
- “I have observed him in many different and difficult situations. He has never disappointed me in any way. He is a man of strong faith that guides him. He is a man of great integrity. He loves and respects his fellow man. I have never witnessed a time when he was unkind to anyone. He is always giving to others and helping anyone including me so many times.” His ‘strong faith’ guided him, alright! Just as it guided Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and others.
- “We held each other accountable and we studied God’s word and applied it to where we were at that moment,” wrote DeLay, who is a longtime advocate for foster children and adoption. “Nothing could have been more intimate between us. So I know his heart and have seen it up close and personal.” Once again, since when does prayer, a belief in a higher being, or religion absolve one from abusing children?
DeLay himself is no angel, having been convicted of money-laundering and sentenced to three years. His conviction was overturned due to lack of evidence, but his political career ended in disgrace just as his bosom-buddy Hastert’s. DeLay was not the only letter-writer. In all, the judge received 60 letters asking leniency for Hastert. Included are letters written by Hastert’s wife, two of his sons, two of his brothers, former Congressman and head of the Central Intelligence Agency Porter Goss, former Illinois Attorney General Ty Fahner, several ex-congressmen and a few retired law enforcement officers, including retired Kendall County Sheriff Richard Randall and members of the U.S. Capitol Police force. As I read this, my jaw dropped. How can all of these people be willing to overlook what Hastert did? Are they being paid to write these letters? Some of the content of the letters:
- Hastert’s wife of 43 years, Jean, wrote that she’s never known a “more honorable and devoted man.” I wonder if she has stopped to consider that while she was home taking care of his children, he was out having sex with somebody else’s children?
- Retired Illinois state Sen. Doris C. Karpiel called Hastert “the best kind of public official.” “He cared about and listened to his constituents and worked hard to represent their interests,” Karpiel wrote that he had already lost “his good name.” “Further punishment will serve no real purpose, and I ask that you take his years of public service and many accomplishments into account when he is sentenced.”
Another If you can stomach it, you can read the article in Politico.
The only alleged victim of Hastert to be named so far is Steve Reinboldt, the equipment manager of the team. In 1979, years after he was out of high school, Reinboldt, who died in 1995, told his sister that Hastert abused him for four years. His sister asked him why he had not spoken up sooner. “… he just turned around and kind of looked at me and said, ‘Who is ever going to believe me?’” Reinboldt’s sister said. His sister is expected to appear at the sentencing on Wednesday, as well as one of the thus-far unnamed victims.
What he did was criminal, was among the worst crimes, in my mind anyway, that a person can ever commit. That he will not be punished for his crime only compounds it. His lawyers have argued that Hastert’s name has “become forever tainted” and he has been “stung by the public repudiations of him that followed his indictment, including the removal of his portrait from the United States Capitol.” Oh please. I cannot believe anybody could say that without choking on their own words.
The irony is that during his tenure in the House, he spearheaded legislation to prevent use of the Internet to encourage sexual acts with children. “We must continue to be proactive warding off pedophiles and other creeps who want to take advantage of our children,” said Hastert. Hastert publicly called for legislation to “put repeat child molesters into jail for the rest of their lives.” I guess he considers himself above the law. One final irony … Hastert will keep his Congressional pension.