The claim that U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI) sexually molested his cousin Patrick Kildee about 50 years ago looks questionable when we look at both the substance of it and why it took so long to become public.
Dale Kildee is now 82 years old and Patrick Kildee is now 63. The alleged sexual abuse was claimed to have occurred in the 1960s when Dale Kildee was in his 30s, but there are now three different versions of it. According to one version, the alleged abuse began when Patrick Kildee was 12 years old and lasted five years. The second version claims that the abuse began when Patrick Kildee was 15 years old and lasted two years. The third is that Dale Kildee repeatedly molested Patrick Kildee when he was 15 years old. If someone can’t get their story straight, it rings false.
We also have to wonder why it has taken such a long time for these allegations to be made public. Dale Kildee, who announced in July that he is retiring, has had a long political career that began in 1964, when he was elected a state representative. He moved up to the state Senate in 1974, then won a seat in Congress in 1976. There has been a lot of time for Patrick Kildee to come forward, so why did he wait until Dale Kildee’s political career is almost over? As it is, Dale Kildee said he hasn’t had any contact with Patrick since 1988.
Dale Kildee has, of course, vehemently denied these allegations, which he labeled as “false and shameful” with “no shred of truth.” He said that Patrick Kildee has a history of mental illness and that he went to the FBI 20 years ago when Patrick’s wife tried to blackmail him by threatening to go public with the claims if he didn’t get Patrick Social Security disability benefits. Dale Kildee also said Patrick’s son contacted him in September seeking money.
To Dale Kildee, it is all a smear after a botched blackmail attempt, with no evidence to support Patrick Kildee’s claims. He sees it as a politically motivated attempt to destroy his reputation by Republicans trying to pick up his seat, for which his nephew, former Genesee County Treasurer Dan Kildee, is seeking the Democratic nomination. Dale Kildee said the Republicans tried to bring up these allegations during the last campaign, but were rejected by reputable news outlets.
An ethics complaint over the allegations was filed with the House Permanent Select Committee on Standards and Conduct in July. While Republicans claim the complaint led to Dale Kildee’s decision to retire, he said he was unaware of it when he chose to step down.
In light of the more credible sexual abuse allegations against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky and former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine, some people believe that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. But we need to look at allegations in these cases on their individual merits. In the Kildee case, the claims look weak at best, and Dale Kildee is exploring his legal options.