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Son, Wife of U.S. Congressmen Get Prison Time

Jeffrey M. Rush, the son of U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.), was sentenced in October 2008 to serve six months behind bars plus three years on probation for having sex with female prisoners at the Fox Valley Adult Transition Center in Aurora, Illinois. He had been employed as the assistant supervisor of security at the facility, and was fired on September 10, 2007. His father had helped him get the job at Fox Valley.

Jeffrey Rush pleaded guilty to three counts of official misconduct, two of which related to sexual encounters with prisoners between February 1 and June 2007. The sex acts reportedly occurred outside the facility, with prisoners who were granted passes to leave the prison.

“Mr. Rush engaged in a pattern of conduct abusing his position of trust with the Illinois Department of Corrections for his own sexual gratification. This sentence sends a clear message that this type of conduct will not be tolerated,” said Justin Fitzsimmons, the state prosecutor who handled the case.

“As a father, I am deeply disturbed and saddened by the allegations against my son Jeffrey,” said Rep. Rush. “Throughout my life, the welfare of those on various ends of the criminal justice system has been a passionate concern of mine.” Rep. Rush, a former member of the Black Panther Party, was himself arrested on July 15, 2004 for protesting genocide in Darfur in front of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Another family member of a federal lawmaker may be headed to prison in a more recent, unrelated case. On March 10, 2010, Monica Conyers, a former Detroit City Council member and wife of U.S. Representative John Conyers, Jr., was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison and two years supervised release. She had resigned from the City Council after pleading guilty to a charge of bribery conspiracy in June 2009.

Monica Conyers was prosecuted as part of a federal corruption investigation. She was accused of taking bribes from a consultant for Synagro Technologies in connection with a $1.2 billion sludge disposal contract, and had cast the deciding vote to approve the contract in 2007. Her husband, Rep. John Conyers, chairs the powerful House Committee on the Judiciary, which routinely deals with issues involving the federal prison system.

Monica Conyers, who castigated the court and tried to withdraw her plea when the 37-month prison term was announced, said she would appeal the sentence. See: United States v. Conyers, U.S.D.C. (E.D. Mich.), Case No. 2:09-cr-20025-AC-SDP.

Sources:, Detroit News

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