- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 17, 2006

From combined dispatches

Former Rep. Mark Foley, who claimed after he resigned from Congress that he was sexually abused by a Catholic clergyman when he was a teen, will reveal the man’s identity to the Archdiocese of Miami, his attorney said yesterday.

No criminal charges can be filed because the statute of limitations on sexual assault expired long ago, but the archdiocese requested information about Mr. Foley’s accusations, attorney Gerald Richman said.

“We’re talking about issues that happened 36 to 38 years ago,” Mr. Richman said. “This is all part of the healing process for Mark Foley. He thinks it’s important to go ahead and bring this information out and hope and encourage other people who have been similarly abused to go ahead and come forward.”

Meanwhile, a congressional official said yesterday that overseers of the House page program have discussed a 1996 camping trip that Rep. Jim Kolbe, Arizona Republican, took with two former pages and others. The trip is under review by the Justice Department.

But the official said the five-member House Page Board — three lawmakers and two House officials — took no action after a Monday conference call and did not have any information beyond recent news accounts of the trip. The discussion indicates that the board is moving beyond the overly friendly e-mails and sexually explicit instant messages that Mr. Foley sent to former male pages, the discovery of which led to his resignation last month.

The congressional official is familiar with the Page Board discussion but was not authorized to be quoted by name about the meeting. Although the Page Board does not have investigators, it could ask Mr. Kolbe, a homosexual like Mr. Foley, for a meeting.

Mr. Kolbe said yesterday that he had not been contacted by anyone about the trip, a July Fourth weekend rafting tour of the Grand Canyon. “But if I am, I will fully cooperate with the appropriate authorities,” he said.

Beth Kolbe, the congressman’s younger sister and a member of the tour party, said nothing inappropriate happened during the three-night trip.

Mr. Richman said that when details of Mr. Foley’s claims of adolescent abuse are released, they would deflate critics who have accused the former lawmaker, 52, of making up the abuse claim shortly after he was confronted last month with his graphic electronic messages to former male pages.

“It’s going to be very clear in the coming days that it is a fact as opposed to any possible allegations that it was a fantasy or something made up for political purposes,” Mr. Richman said.

Mr. Foley has not told him the name of the priest but has told another attorney, Mr. Richman said, adding that the clergyman is alive.

Archdiocese spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta said that the church had urged Mr. Foley to identify his abuser but that she was not aware that any meeting having been scheduled. She said the archdiocese’s attorney is on vacation and not immediately available.

The House ethics committee continued yesterday to call witnesses for closed-door testimony. House Sergeant-at-Arms Wilson S. Livingood, a member of the Page Board, was questioned for less than two hours. He would not comment afterward.

When the Foley scandal became public in late September, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert asked Rep. John Shimkus, Illinois Republican and Page Board chairman, to investigate the page system.

“We want to make sure that all our pages are safe and the page system is safe,” Mr. Hastert said.

The panel also heard yesterday from Paula Nowakowski, chief of staff to House Majority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican. Mr. Boehner has said he spoke to Mr. Hastert about Mr. Foley earlier this year, but the speaker said he does not recall the conversation.

Mr. Boehner has said the speaker told him complaints “had been taken care of.” The majority leader is scheduled to testify this week.


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