CHICAGO, AUG. 19 -- Rep. Mel Reynolds (D-Ill.) was indicted today for allegedly having sex with a teenage campaign worker, persuading her to recant her allegations about it and asking her to get pornographic photos for him.

The freshman congressman faces 20 counts, including child pornography, criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child and obstructing justice.

The Cook County grand jury's indictment closes a week of traded accusations and finger pointing by Reynolds and former employees. A week ago, Reynolds called a news conference to deny that he had ever had sex with his accuser, who was 16 when the alleged relationship began two years ago.

Reynolds questioned the veracity of the young woman, the role race played in the investigation of him and the possibility of a conspiracy between his accuser in the state's case against him and the former campaign workers who reported him to federal authorities for alleged financial irregularities in his campaign. Reynolds is the subject of a federal investigation into his campaign and personal finances.

Reynolds, 42 and the married father of three children, was elected in 1992 and won a rare freshman seat on the House Ways and Means Committee, which then was headed by another Chicago Democrat, Rep. Dan Rostenkowski. Rostenkowski's indictment on charges of hiring ghost employees, using his expense account to buy personal gifts, trading postage stamps for personal cash and misusing office vehicles caused him to relinquish the chairmanship.

Reynolds is a Rhodes scholar and dogged congressional candidate who ran twice against incumbent Gus Savage (D) before winning. But his image has been tarnished by the recent criminal investigations and the revelation that his financial past is littered with defaulted loans, bounced checks and disgruntled creditors. Today the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the manager of a currency exchange near Reynolds's campaign headquarters reported to authorities that Reynolds and staffers regularly cashed campaign contributions and large checks drawn from the campaign's bank account.

Today's indictment centers on Reynolds's alleged sexual relationship with an underage female who had worked on his campaign. In addition to the sexual relationship with a minor, Reynolds is charged with child pornography for allegedly attempting to obtain lewd photographs of a 15-year-old female.

In addition to the sex-related charges, Reynolds also faces five counts of obstructing justice.

"The obstruction of justice counts stem from activity by the congressman personally attempting to influence witnesses to not testify truthfully before the grand jury," said Cook County State's Attorney Jack O'Malley. Reynolds also is charged with purposely providing investigators with false information and inducing his accuser to leave the state. O'Malley said she is in a witness protection program.

Reynolds's attorney, Terry Gillespie, appeared at today's preliminary hearing, saying afterward that the congressman denies all allegations.

"He has insisted to me that he is not guilty of these charges and I believe him... . And I believe that he will be vindicated. He would like this to occur at the earliest possible date," said Gillespie.

The investigation began in June after the accuser told police that she and Reynolds began a sexual relationship five months before her 17th birthday that continued for more than a year. Reynolds, who was in Washington today, is scheduled to appear at a bond hearing in Chicago on Monday.