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Former Congressman Arrested In Zimbabwe For Porn Possession

Mel Reynolds, who resigned from Congress in 1995 due to sex-related charges, has been arrested for pornography possession and immigration violations.
Posted at 8:11 PM, Feb 18, 2014

Former Illinois Congressman Mel Reynolds resigned from his seat almost two decades ago when he was sent to jail on statutory rape charges. Now he's in trouble again — this time, in Zimbabwe. 

"Zimbabwe's state-controlled newspaper is reporting that Reynolds was arrested for allegedly possessing pornographic material and violating immigration laws." (Via WFLD)

Authorities say Reynolds had been in the the country illegally since December. When officials went to arrest him on those charges, they say they found pornographic material shot by Reynolds himself. The country's laws outlaw possession of any sexually explicit material. 

According to The Herald, the Zimbabwean paper that reported the news, Reynolds brought several Zimbabwean models and women back to his hotel room on different occasions. The paper also reported that Reynolds owes up to $24,500 in unpaid hotel bills. 

The former Chicago congressman brought investors to the African country to help fund a $145 million Hilton Hotel construction project, according to Daily Mail.

Reynolds is no stranger to scandal, despite his impressive early resume. The Rhodes Scholar and Harvard graduate was once called "a rising star" for the Democratic party. He was elected to Congress in 1992. 

But then in 1995, Reynolds was found guilty of charges related to sexual activity with a 16-year-old girl who volunteered on his campaign, including statutory rape, obstruction of justice and child pornography. (Via CBS)

When Reynolds went to prison and resigned in 1995, Barack Obama eventually claimed the congressional seat for himself in 1996. (Via The White House)

But then, while still in prison, Reynolds was charged with bank fraud. His sentences were eased by Bill Clinton in 2001. (Via WLS-TV)

Reynolds has made several more attempts at a congressional office, including in 2004 and 2012. Here's what he said about his run for Jesse Jackson Jr.'s vacant seat:

"I want to serve. I was raised by a minister, and service is part of my life. I want to serve." (Via WTTW)

Well, despite those sentiments, his latest arrest has a writer for The Daily Beast calling him "America's most perverted ex-congressman."

The writer says, "Does the [arrest] ... mean that we the people will at last be rid of this habitual skeezeball?"

 

We'll have to see.

Reynolds is being held in a jail in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare.