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Why we want Anyone But Mel to replace Jesse Jackson Jr.

I repeat: convicted predatory pedophile Mel Reynolds is running for the second district congressional seat in Illinois. We want to see him lose. That he would even consider running makes us angry.

A few people have checked in with "Is this for real?"-type messages. The answer: yes, it's for real.

(1) Yes, Mel Reynolds was convicted of raping a minor. Reynolds held the congressional seat from 1992 to 1995. In August 1994, Reynolds was indicted for sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse for raping a 16-year-old campaign volunteer. Despite the charges, he continued his campaign and was re-elected that November. On August 22, 1995, he was convicted on 12 counts of sexual assault, obstruction of justice, and solicitation of child pornography. He resigned his seat on October 1, 1995. [Click here to read the official House of Representatives record.]

(2) Yes, he is now (again) running for Congress—for the exact same seat from which he resigned, following his 1995 conviction. His campaign slogan is "redemption," and he refers to his past crimes (and raping a minor is not his only crime) as "mistakes." [Click here to read the Chicago Sun-Times article.]

Does Reynolds understand the meaning of the word "mistake"? A mistake is when you do something you didn't mean to do; or you do something, and the result is different than what you intended. So ... did the 40-year-old Reynolds think his 16-year-old victim was 30? Clearly not: "A year after entering Congress, Reynolds was indicted on sex-related charges, including [raping] a 16-year-old girl. During trial, it emerged that the girl informed Reynolds that he also could have sex with a 15-year-old Catholic schoolgirl. Reynolds replied, 'Did I win the Lotto?'" [Source: "Reynolds hopes for 'redemption' in race for Jackson seat," Chicago Tribune, November 29, 2012]

So if his mistake was not thinking that the 16-year-old was older ... was his mistake thinking that somehow his actions would be beneficial to the young girl? If you assume yes, then you have to ask why he now thinks that—and the only answer is, because he went to prison for it.

Reynolds is a Rhodes Scholar. He graduated from Harvard. He's neither stupid nor uneducated. He knew what he was doing was against the law; if the fact that it is illegal is what makes him now realize it was a mistake ... well, he would have known raping that child was a mistake while he was committing the act.

The only mistake Reynolds made is that he didn't dispose of the evidence. He got caught. He doesn't think his past crimes should "be a life sentence." Anyone who knows a child who was raped by an adult is given a life sentence. Why should the victimizer get a lighter sentence than the victim?

If this makes you as angry as it makes us, we're asking you to do two things: spread the word about Reynolds' crimes, and join PROTECT, a membership organization that lobbies for laws protecting children from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.

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