Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Foley's Lawyer: My Client Is A Victim Too

CNN - Former Rep. Mark Foley was molested by a clergyman when he was between the ages of 13 and 15, his attorney said Tuesday amid allegations that the congressman exchanged inappropriate e-mails and instant messages with teen congressional pages.

Attorney David Roth said Foley had never had sexual contact with a minor and said any assertion that Foley is a pedophile is "categorically false."

Roth would not release details of the alleged molestation, saying only that making it public "is part of Mark's recovery" and that Foley would discuss it further when he is released from a center where he's being treated for alcoholism and mental issues. It will be at least 30 days before he is discharged, Roth said. (Watch the attorney explain that Foley is not a pedophile -- 2:07 )

Roth added that "Mark Foley wants you to know he is a gay man."

Though the attorney would not provide the religious affiliation of the clergyman who allegedly molested Foley, Foley lists his religion as Catholic, according to a congressional directory.

"He continues to offer no excuse whatsoever for his conduct," said Roth, who spoke to Foley on Tuesday. "This was a life decision, not a tactical one made by others."

Asked why Foley waited to divulge the alleged molestation, Roth replied, "Shame."

Roth's announcement came shortly after ABC News published correspondences it said indicated Foley had Internet sex with a former page before going to a vote on the House floor in 2003.

The network published a partial transcript on its Web site but did not quote the exchanges in which it said the congressman and the high school student apparently had orgasms.

Former pages gave ABC News the transcripts, which were dated 2003, the network reported.

The ongoing scandal erupted Friday when Foley, a Florida Republican, resigned amid questions over e-mails he allegedly wrote to a former page, asking the boy what he liked to do and requesting a photograph. Roth said Tuesday that Foley was under the influence of alcohol when he wrote the messages.

The teen forwarded the messages to a congressional colleague, calling the correspondences "sick, sick, sick." (Watch a former page say she never got a "creepy feeling" from Foley -- 1:36 )

Soon after, instant messages surfaced in which Foley reportedly engaged in sexually explicit exchanges with a teenage male page.

In one exchange, Foley allegedly asked the boy, "Do I make you a little horny?"

President Bush said Tuesday he was "disgusted" by the accusations surrounding Foley.