Congressman Kildee has rejected our efforts for a one-on-one interview
Now-- the results of a lengthy, in-depth WNEM TV5 investigation.
Harsh allegations surfacing against a well-respected US Congressman serving our region for 34 years.
Congressman Dale E. Kildee faces accusations he sexually molested his young second cousin 50 years ago. The accusations surfaced in a letter written by the alleged victim's sister during Kildee's last campaign.
Since then there has been talk about whether the damaging accusations are true.
Until now, the alleged victim Patrick Kildee, has stayed quiet -- not saying a word. He breaks his silence, speaking exclusively to WNEM TV5.
We want to warn you, some of the material you're about see is graphic.
Patrick Kildee was like any other Catholic boy. One of five children of Jane and Bill Kildee, he served as an altar boy attending St. Francis Elementary School in Traverse City.
He felt he had a calling as a young boy.
"I always had this holy card --you know, the one with Jesus holding the lamb," Patrick said. "As a young boy I can remember wanting to serve Jesus, that was my direction, that's what I wanted to do."
The year was 1964, Patrick was 15 and his 35-year-old second cousin Dale Kildee was taking his first shot at politics, running for a Michigan State House of Representatives seat.
"He was well dressed, well groomed had a shiny car and shiny shoes -- looked so important," Patrick said. "He just really liked me -- gave me all the attention."
While campaigning, Patrick recalls tagging along on the campaign trail. He says they would always make the same stops and they would always end up at the same place -- the Kildee homestead.
"I don't remember ever getting out and looking at the homestead," Patrick said. "I remember just sitting there, he would give me sips off his beer and we would talk and then we would…it started by touching. I had no understanding what my penis was for other than going to the bathroom. I didn't know anything about sex. We didn't have sex education or anything. He would show me his and he wanted to see mine…and I'd show him. "
TV5's Katie O'Mara, "Did you know that was wrong?"
"No, no," Patrick said.
TV5's Katie O'Mara, "Did you think it was okay?"
"He said, 'this is our little secret,'" Patrick responded. ‘Do you want to see some magic?' And I said, ‘like what?' He would take my little penis and start rubbing it and it would get harder and bigger -- you know? But, I had no idea what sex was. I really didn't know –and then he would have me do it to him. That's how it started and I didn't know it was wrong."
Patrick says the alleged sexual abuse by the still sitting congressman lasted at least two years.
He says it was usually the same scenario accept he says when they ended up at a Lansing hotel.
"I woke up and I was naked," he said. "Dale was naked and he was on top of me -- giving me oral sex…and I was just mortified. At the time, I knew this was wrong and I just laid there until he was done. And when he fell asleep I got up and put my clothes on, grabbed my little suitcase and found my way to the highway and hitchhiked back home."
After leaving Lansing, Patrick says he tucked away the alleged secret until he says it began to get the best of him.
Patrick started acting out – at first it was anger.
"Within a year my behavior changed, just drastically," he said. "I'm scaring the hell out of my parents. I'm throwing a big daycore diving knife, I'm throwing it in the closed door of my bedroom -- just throwing it."
Patrick's sister, Sandi, wanted to remain anonymous so we photographed her in silhouette. She has since changed her mind and wants to now speak openly.
"I remember the arguments escalating in the family, he was throwing knives at pictures of women on the back of his door," Sandi said.
"I know my parents sent him away and it was for psychiatric care and again, a lot wasn't discussed. I remember the house was more peaceful without him. It was chaotic, a lot of tension."
Soon the anger became increasingly violent, Patrick started physically hurting himself.
"My body has 36 self-inflicted wounds on it. I have two gunshot wounds," Patrick said. "For three days I sat with a .32 in my mouth drinking Jack Daniels. I wanted to kill myself and I couldn't do it. I was so angry with myself; I just took the (gun) and blew a hole through my hand. There's bone sticking out, (I) grabbed wire cutters, cut the bone, poured Jack Daniels in there and wrapped it with a T-shirt."
Patrick spent months on end in-and-out of the state mental hospital in Traverse City. He was eventually diagnosed Schizophrenic Manic Depressive, but it wasn't until his early 30s, he says his repressed memories came out.
"I can remember this so vividly because through all this stuff, I never cried because that shame, man – you don't whimper, you don't cry," he said. "All (of a) sudden I could feel it. There was a tear and it just started coming out of the corner of my eye. It was like slow motion, I could feel it just go slowly down across my lip…and all the sudden there was this explosion. Just tears running down, the dam opened up. All the years not crying…"
In all of his years of psychiatric counseling, Patrick saw a number of therapists. James Bottenhorn was a caseworker who treated Patrick in the 1980s and recalls his counseling session with Patrick in this written statement.
"During this time that I worked with Patrick, he stated that, as a minor, an adult relative sexually abused him. At the time that Patrick disclosed this information to me, this relative was serving as a US Congressman from the state of Michigan."
Patrick and other family members insist the alleged molestation divided the Kildee family.
"This is something that hasn't been a secret in our family, we've known it for years," Sandi said. "I was mad at my dad for continuing a relationship with Dale.
"I called Washington D.C. and I called Dale Kildee." In an audio tape Patrick's mother, Jane Buller, talks about the day she says she confronted Congressman Kildee about the alleged molestations.
The interview was conducted by Jon Yinger, the owner of a handful of Christian radio stations and the head of the GOP in Genesee County Prudy Adam:
"I said -- ‘I'm calling to tell you, Dale, that Pat is again in the state hospital and I'm sure you'd be interested because you are the cause of it.' And he starts and he gives the damn double talk -- he never denied it. But he didn't come out and say he did. He said, ‘Well -- ya know when two people are consenting adults and they talk around.' It's just like a damn political speech. You don't know for sure what he said, but he didn't deny it. And I said, ‘I just wanted you to know that as his mother, I know what you have done to Patrick and what the consequences are.' And I said, ‘the only thing I can think of is, I can't remember the direct quote, but, I would hate to be you and face death. Because our Lord said, ‘Woe be unto you that ever does anything to a child.' And that's when I said goodbye and hung up."
TV5's Katie O'Mara, "Has he ever asked for forgiveness?"
"No, when I got out of the state hospital, when the repressed memories came out, I was angry because I could see," Patrick said. "I was like, ‘Oh man,' so I had this picture of me when I was a young boy – black and white – ya know? Nice young boy with his hair back -- and on the back (of the photo) I wrote, 'Dale some wounds never heal. Come see me – Patrick.'"
And I mailed it to Washington D.C. Within a week he flew in to Traverse City Airport, rented a car and met me in front of the Big Boy in Traverse City. And I get into the car and 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.'
And he said, ‘Patrick, every year I make a general confession – that's the first thing on my list every year. I keep confessing it every year.' He said, ‘you have no idea how much I suffer because of what I did you.'
And I'm sitting here, I never once thought of him suffering, and I was at that point of…I call it 'reaching for the secret' too soon, ya know? I was going to forgive him, ya know? It was just about ready to come out of my mouth and he says, ‘Well, you know you did come onto me.'
And I said, ‘What?' He said, ‘Well – this was a mutual thing.' I said let me out of the car. He said, ‘No-no, let's talk about it.' I said, 'Let me out of the car.' I got out of the car and walked away. That was the last time I ever seen the man."
So, why now? Why after 50 years does Patrick want his story told?
Patrick says it was one simple phone call his son, Sean, made to Congressman Kildee's office seeking a favor for Social Security benefits.
"He said, ‘I called Dale Kildee up, we talked for a little bit and I just said, would you swear on the name of Jesus Christ that you didn't molest my father,'" Patrick said of his son's phone call. "'And Dale says, 'Yes, I will do that '-- and then he comes out with these talking points...'Your father got out jail, he needed a villain in his life, he chose me and I don't know why.'"
Patrick says,"Had that conversation not taken place; I wouldn't be sitting here today."
And for this 63-year-old man who now makes the remote community of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, is home -- that was enough.
For years, Patrick says he just kept quiet. He didn't want to share, but it was that phone call that changed his mind.
The I-TEAM had repeatedly made attempts, over the course of several months, to set up a one-on-one interview with Congressman Kildee to get his reaction to these harsh allegations.
His office has denied our requests at least five times -- or never got back with us to set up a sit down interview. After several attempts, we caught up with Congressman in October at a children's charitable organization -- that night he was receiving an award.
TV5's Katie O'Mara, "We've asked you repeatedly to do a one-on-one interview with us-- and you've denied. We would really like to know if we could talk to you."
Congressman Kildee responds, "I'll talk to you, we'll get together."
TV5's Katie O'Mara, "You promise me we'll get together for a one-on-one interview because there are certain things that I know that your second cousin has said, and I just want – I want to know if they are true or not. I need to hear from you."
Congressman Kildee, "There is not a shred of truth to it."
TV5's Katie O'Mara ,"Okay Congressman, so you don't believe anything he said was of truth?"
Congressman Kildee, "There's not a shred of truth to what he is – what you and I talked about – and what he has said – not a shred of truth to that."
TV5's Katie O'Mara, "If you care to do a one-on-one interview with me, I'd be more than happy to have you come in and sit down. If you want talk to your people about it …"
Congressman Kildee, "Sure, we'll talk about that later, okay?"
As for Patrick he sees this as an opportunity for Congressman Kildee.
"This is actually a spiritual gift to Dale," Patrick said. "I'm giving him an opportunity before he leaves this planet. If he and I believe in the same God, he's got an opportunity to get this squared away before he meets his creator. Just like we all have to. "
Again, we spent months trying to get Congressman Kildee to conduct a one-on-one interview with TV5 for this story and all of our efforts were rejected.
View TV5's most recent correspondence with the Congressman's Chief of Staff:
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