Michigan Democratic Rep. Dale Kildee, 82, has issued a strongly worded denial of accusations made by the mother of a male cousin, who says her son was sexually abused by the longtime congressman 50 years ago.

The story was first reported in The Washington Times, who released excerpts from a videotaped interview with the mother of Patrick Kildee, Dale's second-cousin. (Keep in mind that the woman who conducted the interview, a self-described "conservative investigative journalist" named Susan Bradford, wrote a book called Lynched! that claims Jack Abramoff was the victim of an elaborate setup — a premise even Jack Abramoff would find hard to swallow.)

The mother claims the abuse occurred over the course of five years:

"We encouraged (Rep. Kildee) to run for office and even went down to Flint to spur him on," said Patrick's mother. "He spent almost every weekend at our house...it turns out, in my son's bed."

"After Patrick was allegedly abused, he began to descend into the dark abyss of mental illness. ‘There was no disciplining him,' his mother said. ‘He mutilated his body… hated his family… and was always throwing knives at (pictures) of women on the door,'" Bradford wrote.

Rep. Kildee, who has been married for 45 years and plans to retire next year, said in a statement that the relatives are mentally ill and have previously attempted to blackmail him on multiple occasions — something he's already brought to the attention of the FBI. He characterizes the re-surfacing of their sex abuse claims as politically motivated, saying it's a strategy by Republican politicians and conservative journalists to help win back his seat next year. Kildee also includes a link to a PDF file (linked below) of his last correspondence from his cousin — a strange, though cheerful, handwritten letter from 1988 asking for financial backing for a charity trip to Zimbabwe.

The statement:

"The allegations against me are completely false and shameful. I regret having to air all of this in public, but I feel like I have no choice.

This is a concerted effort by distant relatives, two of whom have a long history of mental illness and multiple run-ins with the law, along with political adversaries to destroy my reputation by lying about something that never took place more than 50 years ago.

Republicans tried to peddle these scurrilous allegations during my last congressional race and authorities and reputable news outlets rejected these false allegations. Now they are back at it again to try to win an open congressional seat. These allegations resurfaced recently when the accuser's son asked me for money and federal benefits, which I refused to do and which I formally reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The following audio tapes were recently posted online by the family in which they discuss in their own words how they attempted to blackmail me. They further state that they have no evidence to support their claims while discussing at length the long history of mental illness. Twenty years ago, the accuser's wife called me demanding federal benefits. On the audio, the family admits to the blackmail and says the accuser's wife said, 'you're going to get me his Social Security disability, or I'm going to go public with that.'

In addition, this letter is the last communication I had with my second cousin 23 years ago. The letter clearly shows he held no animosity towards me and can only be categorized as bizarre."

[Washington Times, Detroit Free Press, WashPo, Politico, Photo of Rep. Kildee via AP]