WASHINGTON (AP) — A Michigan congressman on Sunday fiercely denied allegations by distant relatives that he sexually abused a then-12-year-old second cousin several decades ago.
U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee, a Democrat who has represented his hometown of Flint and the surrounding area for 34 years, issued a statement calling the 50-year-old allegations "completely false and shameful." The Washington Times (http://bit.ly/saNwyI ) first reported the allegations and posted on its website video interviews with the alleged victim's mother, stepfather and sister.
Kildee, who plans to retire next year, accused the relatives of working with "political adversaries to destroy my reputation by lying about something that never took place."
The congressman said the allegations surfaced during his last congressional race but were rejected by authorities and news organizations. They have apparently resurfaced in an effort to win the open seat in 2012, Kildee said.
Kildee charged that the accusers may have been motivated by blackmail and that he made a formal report to the FBI when one of the relatives asked him for money and federal benefits.
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 newspaper story names but doesn't quote the alleged victim. The Associated Press was unable to reach him or his relatives for comment on Sunday.