- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 2, 2001

Chandra Levy's parents have abandoned their promise to stop implicating Rep. Gary A. Condit in their daughter's disappearance, and have begun holding daily press conferences in a desperate effort to keep the story alive until she is found.

"They have to look at everyone who knows her, who's involved with her. He's certainly the main character for that," Robert Levy has said of Mr. Condit, California Democrat.

Mr. Condit, 53, told Washington detectives about his affair with the 24-year-old former intern on June 23, two days after the Levys promised to stop commenting about his conduct if he answered questions candidly.

Mr. Levy and his wife, Susan, are meeting daily with the press outside their Modesto, Calif., home, trying to keep attention on their daughter's disappearance as it enters its fourth month.

"Any way we can do it, we'll do it. How would you be if you were a parent?" said Mrs. Levy.

Since Friday, the Levys disclosed for the first time:

• That Mr. Condit was the last person known to have telephoned their daughter before she disappeared on May 1. Miss Levy was last seen outside the Washington Sports Club outlet on Connecticut Avenue NW.

• That Miss Levy confirmed to her mother in mid-April that she was having an affair with her home district congressman, who is married and has two children.

• That Mrs. Levy's parting advice when her daughter left for Washington in October was, "Don't you become a Monica Lewinsky."

Mrs. Levy said her daughter, "who has her own mind," ignored the advice and became involved in a situation she was not prepared to handle.

"They're just confronted by evil. And whatever you teach them won't help if evil gets them," Mr. Levy said.

In an interview last week, Mrs. Levy told The Washington Times she was embarrassed by her daughter's conduct, but would not judge her or those who have criticized the Levys for not trying to break up their daughter's affair with a married man 29 years her elder.

"She is not a slut, as some people have quoted in the news media, and I think she's very much in love with this particular person," Mrs. Levy said.

Police officials have said there is no evidence linking the congressman to the disappearance of the former federal Bureau of Prisons intern, although much of the investigation has focused on Mr. Condit. Mr. Condit has been interviewed by law enforcement authorities several times about the missing-person case.

Mrs. Levy said her daughter acknowledged involvement with Mr. Condit during a phone call in which Mrs. Levy passed on a warning about the congressman. The Rev. Otis Thomas, the Levys' gardener, told Mrs. Levy his daughter had been involved sexually with Mr. Condit. Mr. Thomas has since recanted his statement, saying he was trying to comfort Mrs. Levy.

"I said, 'Just be very careful, there was another lady involved who got very, very hurt.' And she didn't tell me who she was involved with. I kind of got it out," Mrs. Levy said.

Pressed for details of the conversation, Mrs. Levy said: "Well, that she could get hurt, that she could get hurt, and she'd be disappointed, that there's a history there, and I don't know if it's accurate or not, but I just told her."

She said her daughter told her she had discussed the matter with Mr. Condit and reported, "It's taken care of."

"And of course, later on we don't know where she is," Mrs. Levy said.

Mr. Levy said he was unaware of the affair until after his daughter's disappearance, because his wife kept her promise.

"Because she had asked to keep it private and secret, I didn't say very much. I didn't say anything to my husband that much," Mrs. Levy said.

Mrs. Levy said Chandra often ignored parental advice.

"Children want to spread their wings and, you know, they're gifts of ours but not ours; they go to the greater universe in a sense. We taught our children morality but, you know, you can give a child and teach them what you think is correct, right and wrong, but still they make their choices," she said.

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