By Jonathan Weisman and Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, October 5, 2006
The message exchanges included plenty of kid stuff -- talk of killer finals and botched SATs, cramming to learn the lines of a school play, picking up a sister at cheerleading practice. But when two former pages sat down at their computers to furtively chat with then-Rep. Mark Foley, they were also acting out a parent's nightmare with a man with clear designs.
"BRB [Be right back] . . . my mom is yelling," one teenage boy wrote just after Foley coaxed him into discussing his anatomy with a lascivious "ummmmmmmmm . . . beautiful."
"back," the boy continued.
"cool hope s[h]e didnt see any thing," Foley responded.
"no no . . . she is computer dumb," the boy offered.
The instant messages that surfaced last Friday drove the Florida Republican from office and ignited a political firestorm over the handling of the matter that has engulfed House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (Ill.) and other senior Republicans. The controversy could tip the balance of Congress to the Democrats in an election that is just five weeks away.
Now, with the help of a former House page who served with the two male pages who conversed online with Foley, The Washington Post obtained dozens of America Online instant messages yesterday that illuminate the apparent predations of the disgraced former congressman. David Roth, Foley's attorney in Florida, said last night of the messages: "I'm not going to comment on anything unless it's in a public forum before everyone."
Some of the instant messages were previously reported by ABC News. The conversations occurred between December 2002 and October 2003, according to the date stamps on the computer files. The vast majority of the messages were between Foley and one of the two former pages. Some of the exchanges took place before the boy turned 18. Attempts by The Post to contact the two former pages were unsuccessful.
Taken together, the chats seem to make clear that Foley tried to lure the boys into sexual encounters, and certainly encouraged lurid behavior online. In one conversation, it appears clear that Foley met with one boy in San Diego.
There is no clear evidence that Foley and the boys had sexual contact. But they frequently talked about getting together
At one point Foley wrote: "i miss you lots since san diego."
"ya i cant wait till dc," the former page replied. "did you pick a night for the dinner"?
"not yet," Foley said, "but likely friday."
In another sequence, Foley suggested that a page meet him at his house a few blocks from the Capitol.
"I could give you a massage here . . . just a block and a half," he wrote. Later in the online conversation, Foley asked, "so you do see us palyin around"?
"sure," the page responded. "weve gone over this before . . . havent we"? "i excuse your memory when you are drinking . . . cause i dont remember much when i drink," the page continues.
Foley then wrote: "I wish i would have jumped you after dinner in san diego, but I was good."
In another particularly lurid conversation, Foley and the teenager engaged in graphic Internet sex, with the boy apparently masturbating as time was running out on a vote the lawmaker had to cast on the House floor.
As the pornographic discussion concluded, the youth said, "ya go vote . . . i dont want to keep you from doing your job."
"can I have a good kiss goodnight"? Foley asked.
":-*," the boy typed.
Often implicit in the chats is an exchange of professional advancement in exchange for sex that plays on the allure of power that Foley used to entice one of the teenagers. Foley at one point promised to help him become the "stylish elite type" person the teenager said he wanted to be.
"We will make you successful," Foley promised, "as long as you don't mind me grabbing your [deleted] once in a while."
Such conversations occurred under the noses of parents who clearly took interest in their children but knew little about their online life.
"sorry my mom walked in," a page wrote after an interruption.
"whta did she want"? Foley asked.
"to spend time with me . . . she just came in and sat down . . . apparently she doesnt see enough of me or something," he replied.
"thats a good mom," Foley said.
Such instant messages were the subject of Foley's own political efforts when he helped sponsor legislation to lower the threshold for law enforcement officers to go after online predators.
But in his own messages, Foley encouraged mutual masturbation, even when the boys protested that they had too much schoolwork.
"im doing homework," one wrote.
"better do you[r] homework . . . I am a bad influence," Foley wrote.
He fished for compliments on his looks, flattered them on theirs, frequently brought up the subject of sex, encouraged their attractions and frowned on girlfriends. He was impervious to the misgivings of his online chat mates.
"so . . . where does that leave us"? Foley asked once, after he seemed to encourage a sexual encounter, to no avail.
"i dunno . . . same as we are now," the boy replied, ". . . just saying that im not sure what im totaly comfortable with . . . we will still have fun."
Moreover, Foley appeared aware that he was behaving badly, chastising himself but unable to stop. It was that behavior that his former chief of staff, Kirk Fordham, seemed to allude to when he said yesterday that he turned to the most senior House leadership officials to intervene when his own efforts to stop Foley's actions had failed.
"to be honest I am a little to interested in you," Foley said to one page, "so thats why I need to back off a little."
"ya slow things down a little im still young . . . like under 18 dont want to do anything illegal," the teenager cautioned.
"nothing will happen . . . just dreaming," Foley assured him. "i was good in SD."
"I am not a sicko," he concluded.
Yesterday, several Web sites said that bloggers had been able to learn the name of one of the two former pages because ABC News had briefly posted his screen name on its site.
"We always want to keep the identities of people involved in any kind of alleged sexual crimes confidential," ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider said last night. "On Friday, there was a glitch in our posting, and it's possible that an actual, unredacted screen name was posted for an extremely short period of time. Obviously, it was fixed almost instantly."
Staff writer Howard Kurtz and staff researcher Madonna Lebling contributed to this report.