Billings woman mum after telling ABC about Hastert allegations

I suppose everyone’s heard by now that a Billings woman, Jolene Burdge, has come forward to say that her late brother, Steve Reinboldt, was sexually abused by former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

I was asked by the Washington Post to speak with Burdge this morning, so I went to her house on Avenue D about 10 a.m. A man who identified himself as Burdge’s husband said she was not granting any more interviews.

He said she told ABC News everything she knew as completely and honestly as she could, and that if she talked to other media her story might be “misconstrued.” He also said they have been flooded with interview requests from all over the country, starting this morning at 7. He said of his wife that “God is with her.”

The ABC story is quite detailed. Burdge told ABC that her brother, who died in 1995, first informed her of the abuse back in 1979. She tells a chilling story, the most riveting part of which was when she supposedly confronted Hastert at her brother’s funeral. She said she told him she knew what he had done to her brother, but Hastert said nothing and simply drove away.

The Washington Post also has an interesting story about Hastert’s life after Congress, and about how none of his friends or former associates could quite understand his single-minded devotion to making lots of money, though he didn’t appear to be spending any.

It all started to make some sense when it was revealed that Hastert was being investigated by the FBI for allegedly trying to hide a $3.5 million payoff scheme designed to keep stories of his sexual improprieties under wraps.

This story is just going to keep getting bigger, and it looks as though Jolene Burdge is going to be a big part of it.


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