An Oct. 2 article about inappropriate messages from Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) to former House pages incorrectly said that former page Patrick McDonald had seen sexually suggestive e-mails from Foley. McDonald was merely present when recipients of the messages discussed them.
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FBI to Examine Foley's E-Mails
Hastert also wrote that, because some of the more sexually explicit instant messages were written in 2003, "there should be an investigation into the extent there are persons who knew or had possession of these messages but did not report them to the appropriate authorities."
The speaker asked that the probe extend to "all individuals who may have been aware of this matter -- be they Members of Congress, employees of the House of Representatives, or anyone outside the Congress." He said that "no one in the House Leadership was aware, to my knowledge" of the explicit messages from 2003 until ABC News reported on them last week.
In one instant-message exchange with a high school boy, ABC News reported, Foley made repeated references to sex acts and body parts.
Former page Matthew Loraditch said yesterday that he has known for years about the "creepy" messages three 2002 classmates received from Foley. He said Foley sent them after the boys had finished the House program. Each began innocuously but took a turn in tone, said Loraditch, a senior at Towson University.
"They became explicit and similar to what we are seeing on the Web sites right now," said Loraditch, 21, who runs the U.S. House Page Alumni Association's Internet message board. Those who received them "didn't do anything beside telling other pages about it."
Foley was known as an exceedingly friendly House member to young pages, most of whom are 16- and 17-year-old high school juniors who come to Washington for an intensive, year-long civics lesson. Unlike most House members, he memorized their names and talked politics with them during lulls in late-night sessions. Foley was the only House member to attend the Class of 2002's graduation, according to McDonald, and he wore a tuxedo.
McDonald and Loraditch said they received no improper messages from Foley. Loraditch said he had viewed several "cut-and-paste excerpts" of messages Foley sent to one of the three. "Some went along with it, others cut it off," Loraditch said. "I'm pretty sure none met with him."
None of the three former pages is yet willing to step forward, according to McDonald and Loraditch.
Loraditch said no one wanted to report Foley for fear of damaging his job prospects.
"That's part of your concern about coming forward," Loraditch said. "You take down a Congress member, and you can't end up trying to do something later."
McDonald remembers Foley encouraging pages who expressed an interest in politics and inviting them to his district for his own campaigning. McDonald was so fond of Foley that he almost refused to believe the objectionable messages when he learned of them in 2003.
"There is a part of us that all want to be told lies," he said. "We want to be told, 'That's not true.' I wanted to believe that Foley was the guy we always knew he was: He just loved pages."