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Local News

September 20, 2006

Hall denies challenger's allegations

A candidate running for U.S. Congress has alleged that longtime incumbent Congressman Ralph Hall has been paid to cover up child prostitution and forced abortions — a charge which Hall vigorously denies.

Glenn Melancon, D-Sherman, also accuses Hall of publicly attacking a rape victim.

A postcard being distributed by the Melancon campaign reads: “When investigators discovered child prostitution and forced abortions on the Mariana Islands, Congressman Ralph Hall was paid for covering it up and publicly attacking one of the raped children.”

The postcard then directs people to view a Web site that repeats the allegations with more detail.

The Mariana Islands, which are a commonwealth of the United States, are located in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and the Phililpines.

Hall, who has served the 4th district in Congress since 1980, called the attack “pitiful” and said he’s never publicly attacked one of the raped children.

“I feel storry for anyone who wants to be elected bad enough to defile someone’s character,” he said. “That’s an outright lie.”

Melancon says all the allegations are completely true.

“If it weren’t true, then we wouldn’t be saying it,” he said.

Both Melancon and his campaign manager, David Marlett, however, said the postcard is not a personal attack on Hall’s character.

“We’re not attacking him personally,” Marlett said, “We are attacking his policy decisions. We never intended to run a negative campaign.”

Marlett said he’s sad and embarrassed by Hall’s actions.

“We actually come into this with a heavy heart,” he said. “We weren’t hoping for this, we weren’t looking for it. It’s sad, and it’s gross. It’s embarassing.”

Hall says the Web site, which Melancon’s campaign said it backs, alleges that Hall has known that forced abortions, sex slavery, and sweatshops existed for years in the Mariana’s Islands, but never did anything.

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