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Former US Congressman Arrested in Zimbabwe For Allegedly Possessing Pornography

reynoldsHARARE, Zimbabwe – Former Chicago Congressman Melvin Jay Reynolds, who came into Zimbabwe last year purporting to be a middleman for foreign investors in the tourism industry, was arrested here yesterday for violating immigration laws and possessing pornographic material.

He had also accumulated bills worth US$24,500 at two hotels which he had yet to pay, according to Zimbabwe officials.

Reynolds, who was convicted in the U.S. on 12 counts of statutory rape, obstruction of justice and solicitation of child pornography before he resigned from his congressional seat in 1995, was picked up by police detectives and immigration officials at Bronte Garden Hotel in Harare.

Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba had said police officers did not arrest someone like him.

Assistant Regional Immigration Officer Francis Mabika denied Charamba’s statement, and confirmed the incident, saying he will avail more information about the arrest today.

“He has been picked up. Investigations are still underway and revealing information will jeopardize investigations that are underway,” he said.

According to his former aide identified only as Sunny, Reynolds, 62,  was in possession of pornographic material that he shot on different occasions while in the company of a model and several girls in his hotel rooms.

“His travel documents were not up to date and he used to bring beautiful women at different times. He employed five of us, including a personal assistant and a driver.

“He currently has unpaid hotel bills of more than US$24,500 accrued at two local hotels,”  Sunny said.

Another closely placed source said Reynolds shot more than 100 pornographic videos and 2,000 nude pictures while he was in the company of at least 10 women, including famous models.

“Reynolds entered Zimbabwe via Plumtree Border Post on November 13, 2013, where he was given a 14-day visa. The visa was later renewed and expired again on December 10, and he has been in the country illegally all along.

“He conducted the acts in the hotel rooms when he was guarded by four personal aides that were on his payroll,” the source said.

When The Herald arrived at the hotel at around 1 p.m. on Monday, Reynolds was being escorted to a vehicle and was demanding his mobile phone and the laptop from officials.

“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,” Reynolds said.

“I misplaced my passport but I found it, implying that I am not certain if I breached immigration laws against this country. I am sure I will find out about that. They denied me my passport so that I can contact the United States Embassy, which is a violation of international laws,”  he added.

Reynolds said he was not expecting such treatment after bringing several investors to the country.

The former congressman recently hogged the limelight in connection to the construction of the US$145 million five-star Hilton Hotel and office complex along Samora Machel Avenue in Eastlea, which was scheduled to begin this April.

The project was expected to be completed in late 2016.

Reynolds toured the construction site back then in the company of government ministers Walter Mzembi, Webster Shamu and Ignatius Chombo, and businessman Farai Jere.

Reynolds resigned from the U.S. congressional post he held for two years after he was convicted of statutory rape, bank fraud, obstruction of justice and having sex with a 16-year-old campaign volunteer.

He was sentenced to five years in prison before he was further given an additional sentence of 78 months in federal prison for 15 unrelated counts of bank fraud and lying to investigators.

He served all of his first sentence, and 42 months in prison for the later charges before President Bill Clinton commuted the sentence for bank fraud in 2001.

Reynolds was released from prison and served the remaining time in a halfway house. He was hired by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson’s Rainbow-Push Coalition to decrease the number of young Blacks going into prison.

Halfway houses are meant for reintegration of persons who have been recently released from jail.


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