In a series of tweets late Friday, comedian Andy Richter said he remembered from his time in high school a detail contained in a new court filing alleging sexual misconduct by former House speaker Dennis Hastert.
Richter said that, from 1980 to 1984, he attended Yorkville High School in Illinois where Hastert was once a teacher and wrestling coach, and remembered the chair Hastert had placed outside the boys’ shower stalls there, as described in the Friday filing by one of the former speaker’s accusers.
“I went to Yorkville HS ’80-’84 & I remember this chair. Purportedly ‘to keep boys from fighting’ “
In a pair of follow-up tweets, Richter, longtime sidekick to late night host Conan O’Brien, said he hadn’t thought about the chair in decades and said that he hadn’t found it particularly upsetting, as no one thought to question its purpose at the time.
“I haven’t thought of it in 30 yrs”
And in a repohse to a Chris Hayes tweet that said “really upsetting,”
Richter tweeted “tbh, I don’t find it’s upsetting me now. I’m just so struck by how easy it was to do that. Nobody questioned it.”
The chair featured as part of the recollection of one anonymous then-17-year-old male wrestler, identified in the filing only as Individual D.
“Individual D recalled that defendant put a ‘Lazyboy’-type chair in direct view of the shower stalls in the locker room where he sat while the boys showered,” the filing reads.
According to the recollection the boy later provided to prosecutors, he stayed after practice one day to “cut weight,” a method some wrestlers employ to rapidly shed pounds in order to qualify for a weight class. Hastert allegedly suggested a massage would help and had the boy lie on a table. During the massage, he allegedly molested the boy, according to the account.
Hastert has since issued an apology to his former students.
“Mr. Hastert acknowledges that as a young man he committed transgressions for which he is profoundly sorry. He earnestly apologizes to his former students, family, friends, previous constituents and all others affected by the harm his actions have caused,” his attorney, Thomas Green, said in a statement.
Friday was not the first time that Richter’s association with Yorkville high school had come to light in relation to the scandal.
Last spring, Yorkville City Councilman Joel Frieders brought Richter up in an interview with the New York Times in which he argued that the Hastert scandal would do little to harm the city’s reputation.
“Besides, he said, the city has another famous son,” the Times reported then. “Andy Richter, the sidekick on Conan O’Brien’s late-night television show, was a prom king at Yorkville High School.”
That quotation later served as the butt of a joke on Conan.