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The Curse of the Congressional District

What's in the water in Pennsylvania's 10th Congressional District? First, former Rep. Don Sherwood (R-Pa.) was accused last year of trying to strangle his mistress, a nasty little mess that cost him his reelection campaign.

Former Rep. Joe McDade
In this 1992 file photo, McDade speaks to reporters outside federal Court in Philadelphia. (AP Photo)

Now, it's Sherwood's predecessor who's making sordid news. Former Rep. Joe McDade (R-Pa.) stands accused of exposing himself to people at a resort in Sanibel, Fla.

The Florida State Attorney's office today filed one charge of "exposure of sexual organs against Joe McDade," according to Samantha Syoen, communications director for State Attorney Stephen Russell. McDade, who represented the 10th District from 1963 to 1999, is 75.

According to the filing, a copy of which was obtained by The Sleuth (click here to see it), the state attorney charged that Joseph Michael McDade "on or about January 18, 2007 in Lee County, Florida, did unlawfully expose or exhibit his sexual organs in a public place or on the private premises of another, or so near thereto as to be seen from such private premises, in a vulgar or indecent manner, or did go naked in public, contrary to Florida Statute 800.03, against the peace and dignity of the STATE OF FLORIDA."

The Naples Daily News cites Sanibel police reports that said McDade was seen "masturbating on the beach and by the pool area of the hotel" by three witnesses on Jan. 18. The name of the hotel was redacted.

McDade, who was indicted on racketeering charges in 1992 but cleared of charges in 1996, could not be contacted at his lobbying firm, Ervin Technical Associates. His business partner, Jim Ervin, declined to comment on the allegations.

But the summons clearly identifies "Joseph Michael McDade" of Fairfax, Va., as a white male born on Sept 29, 1931, which just happens to be the birth date of the former congressman.

McDade, who has Parkinson's disease and has use of only one arm, was summoned to appear at the Lee County Courthouse, but no date was specified.

Let's hope for the sake of freshman Rep. Christopher Carney (D-Pa.), who defeated Sherwood, that the water in the 10th District isn't tainted. Carney spokeswoman Rebecca Gale told The Sleuth that she doesn't think it is.

"This isn't about the 10th District," Gale said. "Congressman Carney is proud to represent the people in the 10th District. We hope this situation is resolved quickly and judiciously for all of those involved."

-- Mary Ann Akers

By Editors  |  February 14, 2007; 6:28 PM ET
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