NOVEMBER 13, 2008
The Republican congressman ousted after sending sexually explicit computer messages to young male interns is justifying his deplorable actions, insisting he did nothing illegal and that his subjects were 17-year-olds just months from being men.
Mark Foley had represented Florida’s upscale Palm Beach area in the U.S. House for more than a decade when the scandal led to his inevitable resignation. For years the lawmaker pried on young males—many of them in high school—who worked as Capitol Hill pages, exchanging graphic sexual messages so lurid that the media outlets that published them strongly advised reader discretion.
When Foley resigned in 2006, he disappeared into an alcohol rehab program and refused to comment on the scandal which made international headlines. This week he finally broke his silence, downplaying his atrocious behavior by blaming it on a “momentary lapse of judgment” even though it went on for years.
The disgraced legislator points out that his teen subjects were willing participants and none ever indicated the sexual conversations were inappropriate. Foley assures that the boys never said to stop or “I’m not enjoying this.” Then he reminds the public that they were 17-year-olds, just months from being men.
Ironically, Foley was nationally known as an advocate for tougher penalties against child sexual predators. In fact, he was co-chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus and he helped create a measure to protect children from internet predators.
The Democrat (Tim Mahoney) who replaced Foley in the House lost his reelection bid this month amid his own sex scandal. Mahoney, who is married, paid a disgruntled mistress $121,000 in hush money and secured millions of taxpayer dollars for a county in his district because he was having a second affair with a high-level official.
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