In his first interview since resigning from office two years ago, former Rep. Mark Foley says he refuses to be called a pedophile, despite his exchange of sexually charged emails and instant messages with underage male congressional pages.
"It hits me right in the gut because it's absolutely false and incorrect," Foley said in an interview with WPTV NewsChannel 5 in West Palm Beach. "A pedophile is somebody who is having sex with a prepubescent person. I mean, that is an outrage to be called that."
"Now I understand why my critics would (call me a pedophile) and I accept the fact that that is going to be so, but I don't have to accept the title, and I won't accept the title because it's not true," Foley added.
In the interview, Foley also spoke about his feelings on his successor, Rep. Tim Mahoney, (D-Fla.) who recently lost his House seat after admitting extramarital affairs.
"Watching Tim was not anything that made me say 'yippee-I-oh' and 'he got what he deserved,'" Foley said. "It was like another person who falls short of expectations. Another person's wrestling with some demons. There is a reason for some of the behavior and it's not for me to sit here to have a pity party or a celebration, because I know too many people. The collateral damage from what happened to Tim is exactly what happened to me. And the people I hurt, or the people he hurt, none of them deserved what we gave them."