Monday, October 09, 2006

Foleygate: Evidence Mounts That Disgraced Former Congressman Is a Pedophile, Not a Gay Man

Despite L.A.Times Story of Ex-Page's Sexual Tryst With Foley at Age 21, People Who Know Floridian Say They Can't Recall Him Showing Any Interest In Adult Males

By Skeeter Sanders

Disgraced former Representative Mark Foley (R-Florida) said through his lawyer last week that he is "a gay man," days after revelations that he exchanged sexually explicit Internet instant messages with teenaged male Capitol Hill pages.

But contrary to attorney David Roth's vehement assertions to reporters last Tuesday that his client "is absolutely, positively not a pedophile," a mounting body of evidence is emerging that the 52-year-old Foley has a pedophilic, rather than homosexual, orientation.

While many who knew Foley had assumed for years that he was gay, they are only now coming to the realization, as the scandal unfolds, that the former six-term congressman never demonstrated behaviors indicative of being attracted to adult males.

Nor has anyone, to date, come forward to say definitively that Foley is, or has ever been, in a relationship with an adult male, despite a Los Angeles Times story published Sunday in which a former page said he had a sexual liaison with Foley in 2000 at the age of 21, after he left the Capitol Hill page program.

Several individuals close to Foley told The 'Skeeter Bites Report on condition of anonymity that Foley often attended social functions in and around Washington either alone or accompanied by an adult female companion.

While this has often been a tactic taken by closeted gay men in positions of power and influence, none of the individuals that this blogger spoke with said they could recall Foley even dropping the most subtle of hints that he had any interest at all in adult gay or bisexual men.

Yet Foley has on several occasions publicly expressed a deep affection for the young pages -- with C-SPAN cameras even capturing Foley becoming unusually emotional during a speech honoring them on the House floor.

The Foley scandal is giving the Republican Party tremendous grief with its most staunchly loyal constituency: Christian conservatives. At the same time, however, Foley is becoming a pariah in the gay community, which bitterly resents conservatives' longstanding assertions associating gay men with pedophilia.

Ex-Page Tells L.A. Times of Sexual Liaison With Foley

A former House page told the Los Angeles Times that he had a sexual tryst with Foley after an exchange of explicit e-mails with the former congressman. The former page, who spoke with the newspaper on condition that he not be identified, said in an interview published Sunday that he began exchanging e-mails with Foley after he completed his tour of the Capitol Hill page program.

The former page said he had his tryst with Foley in the fall of 2000 at the congressman's Washington home, when he was 21 years old. "I always knew you were a player, but I don't fool around with pages," Foley wrote to the page under his America Online screen name, Maf54 -- a combination of Foley's initials and the year he was born, 1954.

The Times noted that the former page's account is consistent with Foley's assertion that he did not have sexual relations with minors, an issue that will be key to determining whether he committed crimes.

The legal age of consent varies from state to state; in the District of Columbia, where the pages live in supervised dormitories, the age of consent is 16.

Foley Had Meeting With an Under-18 Youth in California

But The Washington Post published transcripts Thursday of what it said were dozens of Foley's sexually explicit AOL instant messages with two teenaged male Capitol Hill pages -- one of whom was under 18 years of age.

Some of the messages, exchanged between December 2002 and October 2003, were previously reported by ABC News. Taken together, the Post reported, the online chats "seem to make clear that Foley tried to lure the boys into sexual encounters, and certainly encouraged lurid behavior online."

The Post was careful to point out that the transcripts it obtained did not furnish any clear evidence that Foley had any actual sexual contact with either of the two youths mentioned in its story. But the transcripts did show that they frequently talked about meeting each other in person.

The newspaper cited one conversation in particular between Foley and a youth he had apparently met in person in San Diego, California (with typographical errors included):

Foley: "i miss you lots since san diego."

Page: "ya i cant wait till dc. did you pick a night for dinner?"

Foley: "not yet, but likely friday."

Foley's Reaction to His Exposure In Sharp Contrast to Studds, Frank, Kolbe and Clarenbach's Coming-Out

The fact that Foley resigned his House seat and claiming days after the fact --through his lawyer -- that he's gay is in sharp contrast to Representatives Gerry Studds (D-Massachusetts), Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) and Jim Kolbe (R-Arizona).

They publicly came out of the closet without guilt or shame -- and not only stayed in office, they easily won re-election. Kolbe decided in February to retire at the end of the year.

Even former Representative David Clarenbach (R-Wisconsin), who waited until after he retired from Congress in 1995 to come out, nonetheless did so with dignity and grace -- even introducing his longtime companion to reporters.

Four present and former members of Congress -- two Democrat, two Republican -- came out of the closet as gay men at various times in their lives without any guilt or shame. Three of the four went on to win re-election. And all four have longtime adult male companions.

But what did Foley do? He fought tooth and nail to keep his sexuality hidden. Why would he go to such great lengths to keep his sexuality a secret if he had an interest in adult males and/or had an adult male partner -- especially after the examples of coming out with dignity set by Studds, Kolbe, Frank and Clarenbach?

Kolbe Warned Foley As Far Back as 2000

Kolbe, in fact, confronted Foley about his Internet communications with teenagers as early as 2000, according to the Post. A former page showed Kolbe some AOL instant messages he received from Foley that had made the page uncomfortable, the newspaper posted on its Web site late Sunday night in advance of its Monday editions.

Kolbe's press secretary, Korenna Cline, told the Post that a Kolbe staff member advised the page last week to discuss the matter with the clerk of the House.

Cline denied the messages were sexually explicit, telling the Post only that they had made the former page uncomfortable. She said "corrective action" was taken, although she did not know whether that went beyond Kolbe's confrontation with Foley.

Most Pedophiles Have Little to No Sexual Interest in Adults

By now, the answer to the question as to why Foley would be so adamant in keeping his sexuality hidden should be obvious: Foley's sexuality has little to do with homosexuality, but everything to do with pedophilia.

Contrary to the assertions of the Religious Right and other anti-gay conservatives, homosexuality and pedophilia are two completely different sexual orientations. Gay men -- especially those who are out of the closet -- have relations only with grown men, not with adolescent or pre-teen boys.

The only adults that do have relations with adolescents or pre-teens are pedophiles, period. Eighty-five percent of pedophiles (who are almost all male) are attracted to girls only. Ten percent are attracted to boys and girls. Only five percent are attracted to boys only.

But whether attracted to boys or girls or both, pedophiles share one thing in common: They have little to no sexual interest in adults. Most pedophiles are as revulsed to the idea of having sex with adults as almost everyone else is revulsed to the idea of having sex with children.

Foley's Panic at Being "Outed" Should Have Set Off Alarm Bells

Another clue that Foley's sexuality has nothing to do with being gay can be found in his panicked, angry reaction to being "outed" twice -- in 1996 by the national gay newsmagazine The Advocate and in 2003 by the Miami alternative weekly New Times.

In both instances, Foley heatedly refused to either confirm or deny being gay -- even holding a conference call with reporters following his 2003 "outing" to tell reporters, "My sex life has nothing to do with my duties as a lawmaker."

At the time that New Times ran columnist Bob Norman's "expose" in May of 2003, Foley was, it now turns out, already exchanging his X-rated instant messages with teenaged boys -- and, as this blogger pointed out last week -- he was apparently terrified that someone would find out about it.

This blogger has little doubt that if Foley had an interest in adult males instead of adolescent boys, he would have, however reluctantly, confirm the New Times column and come out of the closet -- and would still be in office today as an openly gay man, instead of quitting Congress in disgrace as an exposed pedophile.

Some Christian Conservatives Declare War on the GOP

It's the revelation of Foley as an apparent pedophile, rather than as a gay man -- and the failure of House Republicans to take disciplinary action against him for up to three years after learning of his online peccadilloes -- that is giving the Grand Old Party a massive heartburn less than a month before crucial midterm congressional elections.

After all, the GOP has for more than 20 years billed itself as the party of preserving "traditional family values" -- a position that has made Christian conservatives the party's most loyal electoral constituency.

Now, that constituency is threatening to stay home on Election Day -- heightening the chances of the Democrats taking back control of Congress. Already, some Christian conservatives have declared war on the GOP leadership in the House -- the opening salvo in what could be a long and bitter power struggle.

The Family Research Council -- which already had been voicing disenchantment with Republicans for "not paying attention" to same-sex marriage and other "values" issues -- took dead aim at the House GOP leadership with a letter to its supporters warning that the House leaders " could suffer the same disgrace" that the Catholic Church did in the priest sex-abuse scandal.

FRC president Tony Perkins bluntly accused party leaders of discounting or downplaying earlier reports about Foley's indiscretions " probably because they did not want to appear 'homophobic'." Perkins said that the scandal "shows what happens when political correctness trumps the need to protect children."

To make sure that the GOP got his message, Perkins -- whose organization has long been accused by gay-rights activists of an anti-gay bias -- headlined his letter, "Pro-Homosexual Political Correctness Sowed Seeds for Foley Scandal."

Gay Community Leaders Also Denounce Foley

Foley isn't gaining much sympathy from the gay community, either. In fact, he's being shunned as a pariah -- even as community leaders blasted what they see as an opportunity by the Christian Right to exploit the scandal for their own homophobic reasons.

Representative Frank -- who survived his own scandal of being involved with a male prostitute in 1989 -- dismissed assertions by conservatives that punishing Foley would leave the Republicans vulnerable to accusations of gay-bashing.

In an interview posted over the weekend on the gay-oriented news site, Frank called such assertions "gibberish."

"There would probably be just as much uproar if it was an underage female, because of Foley's work with children," Frank said. "In fact, I think the media have been fairly good about not gay-bashing this scandal."

Frank was referring to Foley being the principal author and sponsor of legislation aimed at protecting children from Internet sex predators. He acknowledged the irony of Foley facing the possibility of prosecution under the very laws he created.

Norm Kent, publisher of Florida's largest gay newspaper, The Express in Broward County, has no sympathy for Foley, either. Back in 2003, when Foley was "outed" by New Times, Kent had expected to endorse Foley's 2004 run for the U.S. Senate seat that was being vacated by the retiring Bob Graham, a Democrat. But when he learned of Foley's news conference denouncing the paper, Kent withdrew his support.

"If homosexuality is nothing to be ashamed of, what's 'repulsive' about discussing one's sexuality?" Kent asked the St. Petersburg Times at the time. "It's obvious [Foley is] trying to placate part of his party by selectively choosing his words in a way that's harmful and denigrating to the gay community."

Kent asked another question: "Would [former House GOP Leader] Tom DeLay, an evangelical Christian [who was himself forced to resign from office in disgrace], rally to the defense of an openly gay Republican candidate?"

Ex-Foley Aide Who First Blew Whistle On Him Is an Openly Gay Man Himself

Indeed, Kirk Fordham, Foley's former chief of staff and the man now credited as having first blown the whistle on his former boss' inappropriate e-mails to the teenaged pages, is an openly gay man himself.

Fordham disclosed last week that he had repeatedly warned Hastert's office about Foley's behavior and asked the speaker's chief of staff, Scott Palmer, for help in bring Foley's actions to a halt.

Fordham, who later served as chief of staff for Representative Thomas Reynolds (R-New York), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, is a member of the gay GOP lobbying group, Log Cabin Republicans -- which made it clear last week that Foley is not welcome among them.

Gay GOP Group Brands Foley Actions "Reprehensible"

Patrick Sammon, executive vice president of Log Cabin Republicans, issued a strongly-worded statement Wednesday denouncing Foley's conduct as "reprehensible" and demanded that he be prosecuted, if he's found to have violated the law.

"He [Foley] abused the power of his office, violated the trust of the voters who elected him and exploited young people," Sammon said. "There should be a thorough criminal investigation by appropriate law-enforcement agencies. If Mark Foley broke the law, he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

Sammon also demanded an investigation of the House leadership, "to see if congressional leaders responded appropriately to Foley's behavior." He also cautioned Democrats not to exploit the scandal. "This unfortunate and inappropriate situation shouldn't be unduly politicized," he said.

The FBI and Florida state law-enforcement authorities are now investigating whether Foley broke the Internet anti-predator law he helped create and any similar Florida statutes.

New Polls Show Scandal Hurting GOP

Republican campaign strategists now privately concede that the Foley scandal is becoming as all-consuming a distraction for the party as the Watergate scandal was in the 1974 miderm elections, which saw the Democrats win veto-proof two-thirds majorities in both houses of Congress, effectively crippling Gerald Ford's presidency.

Combined with mounting public opposition to the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq and the Jack Abramoff congressional corruption scandal -- which has now spread to the White House -- Republicans are now becoming fearful of a repeat of the GOP's 1974 debacle.

Two new polls conducted after the scandal broke and released over the weekend show mounting voter unhappiness with the GOP. An Associated Press-Ipsos poll found 63 percent of voters "dissatisfied" or "angry" with House Republican leaders, and 73 percent disapproving of the job Congress is doing.

In a Time magazine poll, 68 percent said the scandal will have no effect on their vote, but only 16 percent said GOP leaders handled it appropriately.

GOP Operatives Go On the Attack -- But Is Anyone Listening This Time?

Republican Party operatives, following legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi's dictum that "The best defense is a good offense," have gone on the attack, distributing talking points to conservative talk-radio hosts and bloggers claiming that Democrats and "the liberal media" are behind the mushrooming scandal.

But their efforts appear to be going for naught -- especially with independent voters, who will determine which party will control Congress on November 7 -- and who, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, already are leaning toward the Democrats, 59 percent to 37 percent.

Even more ominous for Republicans, a Reuters/Zogby poll released Friday shows support for the GOP by self-described Christian evangelicals plunged from between 70 and 75 percent just a year ago to between 52 and 61 percent now.

"What's happening is that the Democrats aren't drawing the evangelicals," Pollster John Zogby said. "Instead, they're moving into the 'undecided' column. . .They're disappointed with the Republicans, and whether they can be brought back into the fold is the challenge for the GOP."

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Volume I, Number 47
Copyright 2006, Skeeter Sanders. All rights reserved.


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