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Sex Offenders Elected To Congress?

Fri Oct 10, 2003 7:01 am,1,1745220.story

Let's hope the people on the south side of Chicago see this one. The man took advantage of a 16 year old girl, and defrauded his own campaign contributors. I personally think it was an outrage that he was released from prison in the first place. Most other people, after they get released from prison after being convicted of rape have trouble getting a minimum wage job, and this guy thinks he can be a congressman again?

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RE: Sex Offenders Elected To Congress?

Fri Oct 10, 2003 7:05 am

I assume this was Mel Reynolds?
Your link just takes me to a log on screen.

What is the legal age in Illinois?
I had a great deal of respect for him until that happened. I hated to see this all happen several years ago.
If the girl and her family has forgiven him, I am sure the voters will to. He was still very popular in his district when he got in trouble.
Is he challenging Congressman Jessie Jackson III?
That's who replaced him.
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RE: Sex Offenders Elected To Congress?

Fri Oct 10, 2003 7:11 am

Yeah, sorry, guess you need to register to view it here:

BTW- in Illinois, age of consent is 18.

Reynolds runs again despite sex conviction
He wants old Congress seat back

By John Chase
Tribune staff reporter
Published October 8, 2003

The strange saga of convicted sex offender Mel Reynolds took yet another odd twist Tuesday when the former Chicago congressman, standing beside his wife, who once accused him of beating her repeatedly, announced plans to try to retake his House seat.

Less than three years out of prison, where he also served time on federal fraud charges, Reynolds said he wanted voters to return him to Washington to replace Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), whose father helped shorten Reynolds' time in prison.

The 51-year-old Reynolds was convicted in 1995 on state charges of having an improper sexual relationship with a 16-year-old campaign aide and two years later on federal charges of bank and campaign fraud. He served 2 1/2 years in state prison and then was shifted to a federal prison until President Bill Clinton, hours before leaving office in 2001, commuted Reynolds' federal sentence with two years left to serve.

Standing under a campaign banner that declared "Never Give Up," Reynolds admitted that he is not "a perfect servant" and acknowledged that he had "made mistakes in the past." But Reynolds, who now works at a church in Harvey, insisted he is the right man to replace Jackson in Congress because Jackson has ignored the needs of constituents.

Reynolds made the announcement at his South Side campaign headquarters, where he was joined by his wife, Marisol, who in 1996 received probation after pleading guilty to the same federal fraud charges leveled against her husband. She alleged at the time that he had frequently beaten her, and she has twice filed for divorce but not followed through.

Though he billed his announcement as a news conference, Reynolds read a statement and then refused to answer questions from reporters except on a one-on-one basis.

Marisol Reynolds declined comment Tuesday, even though her name was listed on campaign material as an information contact. Her husband refused to talk about the domestic-abuse allegations, though he has denied them in the past.

`We'll wait and see'

"I have no comment about my personal life whatsoever," Reynolds said. "Let them bring up whatever they want to bring up. We'll wait and see."

In challenging Jackson, Reynolds acknowledged that the congressman's father, Rev. Jesse Jackson, wrote a letter to Clinton asking him to commute Reynolds' sentence. After the president agreed and Reynolds was freed, the elder Jackson gave Reynolds consultant work at the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and then worked to help secure a full-time job for Reynolds at the Salem Baptist Church headed by Rev. James Meeks.

But Reynolds said he doesn't think he owes the Jacksons anything, noting that he worked for Jackson's presidential campaign in 1984.

"Why should [Jackson Jr.] get a free pass? If I wasn't doing my job as a congressman I wouldn't get a free pass," Reynolds said. "Why should he get a free pass because he's Jesse Jackson's son?"

Indeed, Reynolds said, only weeks after he was indicted on the state charges and was still representing parts of the South Side and south suburbs in Congress, the younger Jackson had already begun sending clear signals that he was poised to take Reynolds' place if he left office.

"Was he disloyal two weeks after I was indicted to come into the district and start campaigning for my job? Was that disloyal? He did that. ... He was campaigning after I got indicted," Reynolds said. "When Jesse Jr. gave a speech at Operation PUSH condemning me before I was convicted or anything, was that disloyalty?"

Spoke to Jackson rivals

Reynolds said he had spoken to Jackson rivals, Dolton Mayor William Shaw and his twin brother, Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Robert Shaw, about running for the congressional seat. But Reynolds said the brothers did not ask him to run and are not behind his campaign.

"Of course I've talked to them. ... I've talked to just about every elected official out here," Reynolds said. "But I ran against [William] Shaw in 1994. He tried to take my seat in Congress. In 1992 when I defeated [former Rep.] Gus Savage, their ward was the toughest ward to fight because they were with Gus."

He also said he thinks he has a real chance of winning.

"I'm not anybody's sacrificial lamb. I'm just not going to be," he said.

Reynolds worked for Meeks' church for about a year before moving to his current job, executive director for New Hope Community Development Commission, which is part of St. Mark's Missionary Baptist Church in Harvey, headed by Bishop Willie Jordan. She is the chairman of Reynolds' campaign.

Reynolds resigned from the House in 1995 after he was convicted of several sex-related charges, including criminal sexual assault and solicitation of child pornography, and sentenced to 5 years in prison after being found guilty of having an improper affair with 16-year-old campaign worker Beverly Heard.

Reynolds also received 5 years in federal prison after he and his wife were charged with a wide range of fraud relating to their personal and his campaign finances. He had more than two years left to serve when Clinton commuted the sentence in the hours before he left office.

Copyright © 2003, Chicago Tribune
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RE: Sex Offenders Elected To Congress?

Fri Oct 10, 2003 7:21 am

Thanks for the story.
This sounds like a backstabbing move on his part. Jessie Jackson help reduce his term, why is he challenging his son?
He has a lot of baggage and that's not what the Democrats need.
I am sure the voters will keep Jessie Jackson III as there Congressman.
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RE: Sex Offenders Elected To Congress?

Fri Oct 10, 2003 11:27 am

I dont see what the big deal is! This is Umrikaa for godsake! Anything goes here!

If a sex offender can become governor then whyc ant he become senator?

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RE: Sex Offenders Elected To Congress?

Fri Oct 10, 2003 11:34 am

Since when did a sex-offender become governor???

In semi-related news, New Jersey's 1st governor was a cross dresser.
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RE: Sex Offenders Elected To Congress?

Fri Oct 10, 2003 12:30 pm

"I dont see what the big deal is! This is Umrikaa for godsake! Anything goes here!"

Please. If anything goes in America, then India would qualify as a veritable zoo. India's government had one of the highest corruption perception indices in the world. And the recent rape of a young woman by the Presidential Guard doesnt't bode well for any improvement in the appalling behavior of India's governmental ruling class.
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