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Former U.S. congressman arrested in Zimbabwe on porn charges

Feb. 18, 2014 at 2:27 PM   |   Comments

HARARE, Zimbabwe, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Former U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds, D-Ill., has been arrested in Zimbabwe on charges that include possession of pornography.

Reynolds also faces charges of violating Zimbabwe's immigration laws, the (Zimbabwe) Herald reported. He was detained by police and immigration agents Monday at the Bronte Garden Hotel in the capital city, Harare.

A former Rhodes scholar, Reynolds, 62, resigned from Congress in 1995, less than a year after being elected to a second term from a southern Chicago district, when he was convicted of sexually assaulting an underage campaign volunteer and soliciting child pornography. He was later convicted of bank fraud and served several years in prison for both convictions.

President Bill Clinton commuted his sentence on bank fraud charges in 2001.

Reynolds traveled to Zimbabwe in 2013, officials in the African country said. He said he represented potential foreign investors in the country's tourism industry.

An unnamed official told the Herald that Reynolds had racked up unpaid bills of more than $24,500 at two Harare hotels. He had allegedly been in the country illegally since Dec. 10, when his once-renewed visa expired.

The Herald said Reynolds protested his arrest as he was led to a vehicle Monday afternoon.

"It's the way it is, and I have been in this country 17 times where I have done a lot of work for the people including the fight against sanctions," he said.

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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