Although the e-mail exchanges, which were initially disclosed yesterday between Foley and the 16-year-old page, were relatively tame, he apparently made much more explicit statements in other Internet postings. ABC News reports that Foley resigned shortly after he was read more explicit postings he had made:
Hours earlier, ABC News had read excerpts of instant messages provided by former male pages who said the congressman, under the AOL Instant Messenger screen nam Maf54, made repeated references to sexual organs and acts.
Blogactive.com has been alluding to Foley's interest in particularly young boys for some time now. In a statement, Foley said, "I am deeply sorry and I apologize for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent."Foley's departure from what had been a safe Republican seat will further complicate the Republicans struggle to hold their current 15-seat margin in the House.
Foley obviously had some serious issues. He never publicly admitted he was gay even after being outed by Blogactive.com. It is interesting to note that the age of consent in D.C. is 16 so Foley probably didn't break any laws. UPDATED: ABC News is now reporting that some lurid exchanges he had with under-age pages could get him prosecuted under a federal law he helped enact.
When I was in college, the congressman from my district in Illinois, Rep. Dan Crane (R) was caught having sex with a 16-year-old female page. While he could not be prosecuted in D.C., had he done the same thing in Illinois, he would have been prosecuted for statutory rape. Crane, the married father of seven young children, had campaigned on family values. I knew Dan very well at the time, having worked as a volunteer in his run for office in 1978. I was shocked by the disclosure at the time. He begged forgiveness from the district's voters, but he was narrowly defeated by his Democratic opponent in the next election. Ironically, Rep. Gerry Studds (D-MA) was caught at the same time having sex with a teen-aged male page. His district's voters re-elected him to several more terms in Congress. Both Crane and Studds were censured by the House for their actions.
UPDATE: Here's what Foley had to say about Clinton during the Moncia Lewinsky scandal: "It's vile," said Rep. Mark Foley, R-West Palm Beach. "It's more sad than anything else, to see someone with such potential throw it all down the drain because of a sexual addiction." And he would know. Speaker Dennis Hastert's mishandling of the Foley matter seems to be picking up traction now. House Majority Leader John Boehner tells the Washington Post that he knew about the problem last Spring and told Speaker Hastert about it. Boehner later claimed he wasn't sure if he told Hastert after Hastert's spokesman claimed he didn't know anything about it.