After allegations of molesting his second cousin 50 years ago surfaced this weekend, Rep. Dale Kildee denies them and says it's all about his open congressional seat--which makes this whole story even more bizarre. The Washington Times reports:
The family members of Congressman Dale Kildee, Michigan Democrat, are charging that the Capitol Hill lawmaker sexually abused his second cousin 50 years ago. Patrick Kildee, who was a 12 at the time of the first alleged abuse, was said to have endured separate instances of sexual molestation for 5 years at the hands of his cousin who is now a U.S. Congressman.
And this is where the story gets unpredictable in a hurry. The 82-year-old Kildee, who plans to retire next year, denied those allegations in a statement released Sunday evening and blames this all on blackmailing family members and Republicans who want his congressional seat when he retires next year:
...This is a concerted effort by distant relatives, two of whom have a long history of mental illness and multiple run-ins with the law, along with political adversaries to destroy my reputation by lying about something that never took place more than 50 years ago. Republicans tried to peddle these scurrilous allegations during my last congressional race and authorities and reputable news outlets rejected these false allegations.
Now they are back at it again to try to win an open congressional seat. These allegations resurfaced recently when the accuser’s son asked me for money and federal benefits, which I refused to do and which I formally reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.The following audio tapes were recently posted online by the family in which they discuss in their own words how they attempted to blackmail me.
They further state that they have no evidence to support their claims while discussing at length the long history of mental illness. Twenty years ago, the accuser’s wife called me demanding federal benefits. On the audio, the family admits to the blackmail and says the accuser’s wife said, “you're going to get me his Social Security disability, or I'm going to go public with that."
The Detroit Free Press ties the various Kildees together, explaining the dynamic:
Kildee represents the 5th Congressional District, which encompasses all of Genesee and Tuscola counties and part of Bay and Saginaw counties. Dan Kildee, Dale Kildee's nephew and a former Genesee County treasurer, is running for his open seat. Also joining the race is Jim Slezak, a onetime Democratic state lawmaker from Davison who declared himself a Republican to run for Dale Kildee's seat.
USA Today reports, "Kildee also distributed a copy of a letter, dated Jan. 12, 1988, which he says is the last communication he has had with his second cousin, the alleged victim. The letter addresses the congressman as 'My Dear Cousin Dale' and asks for assistance in combating hunger in Zimbabwe." The Washington Times adds that the accuser, Patrick Kildee, "has been in and out of a state psychiatric hospital. He is currently living on his own. The Kildee family blames Congressman Kildee for Patrick's mental illness and behavioral issues over the years, which they attribute to his past trauma."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.