Michigan Democratic Congressman Dale Kildee is denying charges that he sexually abused his cousin more than 50 years ago.
According to WNEM-TV5, which conducted a six-month investigation, Kildee molested his then 12-year-old cousin Patrick Kildee. Kildee, according to the New York Daily News, has vehemently denied these allegations and issued a statement calling the claims false.
“The allegations against me are completely false and shameful ... I regret having to air all of this in public ... but I feel like I have no choice."
Kildee plans to retire next year and accused the relatives who raised these allegations of “working with political adversaries to destroy my reputation by lying about something that never took place,” as reported by The Associated Press.
However, other family members and case workers can back up Patrick’s story, according to WNEM-TV5. Patrick told the NYDN that he confronted his older cousin about the abuse several years after it happened when they took a car ride together.
“I get in the car ... We start driving away ... I said, ‘Dale, I gotta tell you, you have no idea of what I have been through because of what you did to me,’” Patrick Kildee says in a recorded interview, according to the NYDN.
Congressman Kildee allegedly replied, “Every year I make a general confession. That's the first thing on my list every year. I keep confessing it every year ... You have no idea how much I suffer because of what I did to you."
Patrick then goes on to say he was going to forgive his older cousin until his cousin told him it was a “mutual thing.”
The Associated Press reports that Kildee distributed a copy of a letter dated Jan. 12, 1988 which he claims was his last correspondence with his cousin. The letter was from Patrick and addressed “dear cousin Dale” and asks for assistance in combating hunger in Zimbabwe.
According to USA Today, Kildee says the alleged victim’s family has a history of trying to blackmail and extort federal benefits from him.
Kildee’s nephew, Dan, plans to run for his open seat. When Kildee announced his retirement he said he wanted to spend more time with his wife, three children and 10 grandchildren.