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November 12, 2008, 12:21 pm

Mark Foley Speaks

The saga of Mark Foley, the former Florida Congressman who resigned after he was caught sending sexually explicit messages to teenage Capitol Hill pages, finally has an epilogue.

For the first time since he stepped down from his seat in the House of Representatives on Sept. 29, 2006, Mr. Foley, a Republican, broke his silence in an interview with the Associated Press and acknowledged that what he did was “extraordinarily stupid.”

In the interview he denied that his relationship with the male pages went beyond the inappropriate messages and sought to explain how he views his actions now:

“There was never anywhere in those conversations where someone said, ‘Stop,’ or ‘I’m not enjoying this,’ or ‘This is inappropriate’ … but again, I’m the adult here, I’m the congressman,” Foley said. “The fact is I allowed it to happen. That’s where my responsibility lies.”

Mr. Foley, who served more than a decade in Congress, was never charged with a crime. In the House, he was a leading proponent of legislation cracking down on child pornography and served as the chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children.

Explaining why he came forward now, two years after he left Washington, Mr. Foley said: “I believed I owed my constituents an apology.” He added:

“I embarrassed them and I embarrassed my family and I wanted to have a chance in a public setting to lend my voice to what happened, not through an attorney, not through a spokesperson, but from myself.”

The story of Mr. Foley’s relationship with the young pages unfolded as high drama during the fall of 2006 in the run up to that year’s mid-term elections when the Democrats took control of both the House and Senate.

Mr. Foley said that the scandal involving his inappropriate conduct played a role in the results: “They had the Republicans on a number of ethical scandals and, you know, I served up for them the moral dilemma.”

Since he left public life, the former Congressman has been investing in real estate, according to the A.P.’s Brian Skoloff. “I’m trying to find my way back,” Mr. Foley said in the interview.

Video: Florida’s WPTV Interviews Mark Foley





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