The WNEM story that sparked a scandal involving U.S. congressman Dale Kildee this week began its life a year ago.
Last year, WNEM anchor Katie O’Mara received a letter. It was from the sister of Patrick Kildee, the man who would eventually come forward and accuse Dale Kildee, his half cousin, of molesting him as an adolescent. The letter disclosed a pattern of abuse by the congressman and O’Mara started investigating.
“It’s challenging for a main anchor with significant anchor duties to also pursue investigative reports,” WNEM news director Ian B. Rubin told TVSpy recently, “but Katie did so with energy and passion from start to finish.”
The big breakthrough in the investigation came when WNEM discovered Patrick living in New Mexico. O’Mara first spoke to him in September but he was reluctant to tell his story. Through additional conversations, O’Mara eventually convinced Patrick to speak exclusively with WNEM about his relationship with the congressman.
O’Mara’s interview with Patrick, which aired this week, was shot on October 14th.
In the interview, Patrick graphically described a string of sexual encounters he had with Dale, who is two decades older than him.
“He was well dressed, well groomed had a shiny car and shiny shoes–looked so important,” Patrick told O’Mara. “He would give me sips off his beer and we would talk and then we would… it started by touching. I had no understanding what my penis was for other than going to the bathroom. I didn’t know anything about sex.”
WNEM provided Dale Kildee with multiple opportunities to participate in a one-on-one interview during their months-long investigation but the congressman declined every time.
Most recently, O’Mara caught up with Dale on October 20th outside of a function he was attending but he had little to say about the allegations.
Rubin says that WNEM waited for so long to air the story after taping the interview with Patrick because the station wanted to give the congressman plenty of time to respond.
Dale Kildee has denied his cousin’s allegations and is now considering taking legal action against his relatives for making the claim.
“Katie has done exemplary work nailing down this investigative report, pursuing it in Michigan and beyond,” Rubin told TVSpy. “It feels great to break an important local story with national implications. I am proud of our team.”
Here’s video of O’Mara confronting Dale Kildee about the allegations…