|Thursday, 23 October 2008 15:40|
Born: May 5, 1925 Lincoln, Nebraska
Died: November 18, 1978 Port Kaituma, Guyana
Cause of death: Gunshot wounds.
Notable because: He is the first and only Congressman to be killed in the line of duty, brutally murdered by religious fanatics.
Leo Joseph Ryan, Jr. was an American politician of the Democratic Party. He served as a U.S. Representative from the 11th Congressional District of California from 1973 until he was murdered in Guyana by members of the Peoples Temple shortly before the Jonestown Massacre.
After the Watts Riots of 1965, then-Assemblyman Ryan took a job as a substitute school teacher to investigate and document conditions in the area. In 1970, he experienced life as an inmate in Folsom Prison, while presiding as chairman on the Assembly committee that oversaw prison reform. During his time in Congress, Ryan traveled to Newfoundland to investigate the inhumane killing of seals.
Ryan was also famous for vocal criticism of the lack of Congressional oversight of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and authored the Hughes-Ryan Amendment; the Amendment was dropped after his death. He was also an early critic of L. Ron Hubbard and his Scientology movement and of the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon. On November 3, 1977, Ryan read into the United States Congressional Record a testimony by John Gordon Clark about the health hazards connected with destructive cults.
Ryan is the first and only Congressman to be killed in the line of duty. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, in 1983.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 December 2008 15:41|