Congress frustrates Foley scandal investigation

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Police in Florida have revealed they are being prevented from fully investigating the sexually-explicit internet communications between a former Congressman and male teenage House pages.

Republican Mark Foley represented the state’s sixteenth district in the House of Representatives for 11 years and was chairman of the House caucus on missing and exploited children.

He resigned in September 2006 after ABC News reported he sent messages to current and former underage pages with references to sexual acts and genitalia.

Foley allegedly sent some ‘overly-friendly’ e-mails in August 2005 to a former page who was 16 years old at the time.

He was also accused of sending sexually explicit instant messages to House pages. The exchanges were later published on the internet.

If it is found that he attempted to seduce boys under the age of 18 using sexually explicit language he could face charges.

After his resignation from Congress, Foley came out of the closet and went into rehab to treat an alcohol problem.

He also claimed that as a teenager he was sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest.

A 72-year-old priest admitted to a series of sexual encounters with the teenage Mark Foley, but denied the relationship was abusive.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said yesterday that Congress refuse to release the computers used by Foley.

“We have requested to review federally owned computers that Mr. Foley used during his time as a representative, but the U.S. House of Representatives … cited case law restrictions that prohibited them from releasing those computers,” said Heather Smith, an FDLE spokeswoman, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

She refused to comment on whether the former Congressman’s personal computers had been examined by investigators.

Foley allegedly made friends with a wide circle of teenage House of Representatives pages, then singled out “hot” boys to write to.

In October 2006 the Washington Post,/I> claimed to have identified four former pages who said they were sexually solicited by Mr Foley.

One former page, who was not identified, told Reuters that Mr Foley sent him e-mails when he was 16 asking about “my roommates, if I ever saw them naked.”

Later, the former page said the politician hinted about a job opportunity “because I was a hot boy.”

The Foley scandal was a major embarrassment for the Republicans in the run-up to the November 7th elections, in which the party lost control of both the House and the Senate to the Democrats for the first time since 1994.