New Revelation In Foley Case

Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla. AP (file)

Former Rep. Mark Foley's attorney said Tuesday that his client was molested between the ages 13 and 15 by a clergyman.

Foley had represented the West Palm Beach district for 12 years and was seeking re-election until his sudden resignation last week after the disclosure of lurid online communications with teenage congressional pages.

"This is part of his recovery," David Roth said, declining to identify the clergyman or the church.

Roth also announced for the first time that Foley is gay. He insisted Foley never had sexual contact with a minor.

While Foley's career ended last Friday, the one in jeopardy belongs to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, reported CBS News correspondent Gloria Borger.

Hastert, R-Ill., on Tuesday rejected a call from the conservative Washington Times for him to resign over his handling of the scandal.

Majority Leader John Boehner, in a letter to the newspaper, also rejects the call for Hastert to step down.

"No one in the leadership, including Speaker Hastert, had any knowledge of the warped and sexually explicit instant messages" Foley allegedly sent to a teenage page.

Boehner also says Hastert had assured him months ago that the matter had been taken care of. "It's in his corner, it's his responsibility," Boehner, R-Ohio, said in an interview on WLW Radio in Cincinnati.

On the road Tuesday in Stockton, Calif., President Bush added his voice to the chorus reacting to the allegations.

"I was dismayed and shocked to learn about Cong. Foley's unacceptable behavior," said Mr. Bush, who is in the West on a trip to support the campaigns of GOP candidates. "I was disgusted by the revelations and disappointed that he would violate the trust of the citizens who placed him in office... Families have the right to expect that when they send their children to be a congressional page in Washington, that these children will be safe."

The president also said he supports Hastert's call for a full investigation.

Mr. Bush expressed confidence in the speaker's ability to resolve the matter, calling him a "father, teacher, coach."

"I know that he wants all the facts to come out and he wants to ensure that these children up there on Capitol Hill are protected," the president said. "I'm confident he will provide whatever leadership he can to law enforcement in this investigation."

One senior House Republican tells CBS News that there's a lot of anger at what he describes as "a network of gay staffers and gay members who protect each other and did the Speaker a disservice."

Foley resigned abruptly on Friday and has since checked himself into an alcohol rehabilitation program at an undisclosed location.

To speak to former pages like Blake Yocum, Foley's interest in the young students was practically legendary, reported CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson, but this story has been a surprise.

"I feel my close friends who were pages suspected that Congressman Foley was homosexual. But we never suspected pedophilia out of the congressman," said Yocum.

Foley's attorney, David Roth, said Monday that Foley was "absolutely, positively not a pedophile" and had never had inappropriate sexual contact with a minor.

Foley's departure leaves a trail of questions concerning the e-mails and instant messages he allegedly sent pages over an unknown period of time. Beyond the details of his actions, Republican leaders fear the impact on the Nov. 7 elections, and the possible loss of their House majority.

  • Jennifer Hoar

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