Ex-Dem Congressman and Convicted Sex Offender Mel Reynolds a No-Show at Scheduled Arraignment

Mel Reynolds
Mel Reynolds / AP
July 7, 2015

Ex-U.S. Rep. Mel Reynolds (D., Ill.) skipped out on his scheduled arraignment Monday to enter a plea on federal tax charges, the Chicago Tribune reported.

According to Reynolds' lawyer, the former lawmaker spent most of June overseas and failed to return to the United States when his daughter became sick.

The arraignment, scheduled in Chicago federal court, would have marked Reynolds' first appearance in court since being indicted on income tax charges late last month.

Reynolds is charged with failing to file federal tax returns four years in a row, according to the indictment.

"Reynolds received gross income in each year in excess of the minimum amount required to file a tax return," the indictment alleges, according to USA Today. "As a result, he was required by law, by April 15 of the following year, to file an income tax return (Form 1040 and accompanying attachments). Reynolds willfully failed to file income tax returns for four consecutive years–2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012."

Reynolds represented the 2nd congressional district of Illinois from 1993 to 1995. He vacated his seat after being convicted on statutory rape charges for having sex with a 16-year-old campaign volunteer, for which he was sentenced to five years in prison.

While serving the rape sentence, Reynolds was convicted of other crimes, including bank fraud and misuse of campaign funds, for which he served an additional 42 months before then-President Bill Clinton commuted his sentence.

Last year, Reynolds was taken into custody in Zimbabwe for overstaying his visa and was accused of violating the country's pornography laws. He was eventually deported.

The former Democratic lawmaker faces up to one year in prison on each of the four tax counts.