Rep. Dale Kildee is facing accusations of child sex abuse, but the Michigan Democrat denied the allegations in a statement last night. Relatives claim Kildee abused a male second cousin, who was 12 at the time, when Kildee was in his 30s—more than 50 years ago, according to the Washington Times, which first reported the story yesterday. The abuse allegedly lasted five years. Kildee says the claims are no more than an attempt to blackmail him, and that he has reported previous attempts by the same accusers to the FBI, The Hill reports.
“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,” he said in his statement, acquired by the Detroit Free Press. “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." Kildee, who had previously announced he will not seek re-election in 2012, will hold a press conference today. (Read more Dale Kildee stories.)