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#261322 - 11/12/08 01:37 PM Mark Foley interview
Trish4850 Offline
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Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
http://www.wptv.com/content/foley/story.aspx?content_id=a9bb8de9-075f-40ac-9034-64785ae5c30a

WEST PALM BEACH, FL – It’s been more than two years since Mark Foley resigned from the United States Congress after being confronted with lurid e-mails and instant messages he sent to male pages. In the first interview since his resignation, Foley has broken his silence and agreed to sit down with WPTV anchor, Roxanne Stein.
1. "Torturous. Difficult, embarrassing, I don't know how many adjectives I could throw at you to quantify this experience."
Those words broke a two-year, self-imposed silence by former South Florida Congressman Mark Foley, as he sat down to face WPTV’s camera at his West Palm Beach office to talk about his life now, and the emails he sent that brought down his career.
NewsChannel 5’s Roxanne Stein asked Foley about the day the news broke, and the reaction of his parents and his sister, Donna.
"It was happening so quickly. Donna happened to be with me and she was there to help me in that crisis. It's a blur right now. I can't remember my moments; my actions at 3 o’clock that Friday afternoon, September 29, 2006,” said Foley.
"They were unconditional in their love. My father was sick with cancer so that was a very difficult time and, of course you felt like you've let them down when you have. There’s no getting around. There's no saying 'remember the good times at the White House. Remember when we went to the congressional Christmas party'. That doesn't quite get you the opportunity to make nice and restore the pride and integrity you hope you showed.”
Shortly after Foley's resignation, his attorney, David Roth, announced Foley was gay and had been molested by a priest as a teenage altar boy. Foley also checked himself into an Arizona treatment facility for what his attorneys said was "alcoholism and other behavioral problems."
"So people would say: 'Wait a minute. All of a sudden he's going to say he's an alcoholic and he was abused. We've heard this before'," said Foley. "It was all true. Everything David Roth said that day was true, despite the fact that so many people assumed we were making it up to save my political hide.”
Shortly after Foley’s resignation and these revelations, a WPTV producer interviewed the priest in question, Father Anthony Mercieca, by phone from his home on the Maltese island of Gozo, in an interview that made national news.
Mercieca, now in his early 70’s, acknowledged the abuse, but downplayed the effect it would have on a young boy. "Once maybe I touched him or so, but didn't, it wasn't -- because it's not something you call, I mean, rape or penetration or anything like that you know. We were just fondling... Let's say it was 40 years ago, almost 40 years ago, so why bring this up at this late stage?" Mercieca asked. "Anyway, he will overcome it, with a psychiatrist you know. Mark is a very intelligent man."
Foley said he never overcame it, and it was a secret he kept for decades.
"I didn't tell anybody. I told my sister in 2003, so I dealt with this in private, on my own. Nobody knew. No one knew. I shared with very few people and very late in life, and I think that was one of my predicaments, and what I would say to anyone listening, or anyone who would care to listen to what I have to say is: If you've had any of this in your past life, you can't remedy it on your own. The scars are too deep," said Foley.
Foley told NewsChannel 5, he never properly dealt with the abuse.
"I wish I would have confronted those demons, but there was a lot of hesitation because my parents had such deep faith and I didn't want to let them down. I didn't want to let them believe that a man of God could have done this to their son and so you keep it inside yourself. You hide it from everyone because you feel like it may have been my fault and you try your best to move forward, ignoring that it happened when you're 12 years old. Your priest tells you 'this is healthy'; 'this is good' and 'if you tell anyone i'll kill myself', so your life is instantly changed. It doesn't make it right. I regret to this day that incident and what I've done but I can't change history," said Foley.
Today, that history includes the emails and instant messages that ended his career.
"I could never say those words that were on those texts to those people in person. By God, no way in the world could I mouth those words. That's what I've learned in my journey; in my struggles," said Foley.
Though Foley and his lawyer always maintained that he never had inappropriate contact with minors, he acknowledges that the exchanges through email and instant message were inappropriate.
"Oh, no question about it. I think at times, you know, it's an innocent thing going back and forth. You know, I wasn't soliciting on the internet. This was not that kind of arrangement. I can't make it sound better and i'm not going to try by suggesting this is an exchange between two people that was appropriate," said Foley.
Foley continued, “So i think in the back of your mind, you know it's wrong, but when you've never confronted those very demons; when you've never addressed your basic, you know, why does somebody drink? Why does somebody drink in excess? Why do they have the scars of sexual abuse in their past if you don't seek professional help?"
Public response to those emails was enormous. Foley has kept several letters of support from members of the public, but is also stung by those who suggest he’s a pedophile.
"It hits me right in the gut because it's absolutely false, because i never had sex with a child. I never had sex with a minor. A pedophile is somebody who is having sex with a prepubescent person, and that is an outrage to be called that, and I realize why my critics would, and i accept the fact that it would be so, but i don't have to accept the title, and I won't accept the title because it's not true," said Foley. "A lot of the allegations against me: going to page dorms, have been proven to be false stories on the internet, that had me as disgusting and disgraceful are patently false."
1. A Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation cleared Foley. His congressional computers, though, were never part of that inquiry. Florida authorities had said their investigation was hampered because neither Foley nor the House would let its investigators examine those computers.
In a letter to the FDLE obtained by The Associated Press, House Deputy General Counsel Kerry Kircher wrote that because the data "may contain legislative information that is constitutionally privileged ... and because Mr. Foley has not waived that privilege ... we cannot simply give you access."
The Florida agency had been working with the FBI and Foley's attorneys to gain access to information on the computers. Foley's attorneys had declined to comment throughout the investigation, but Foley spoke about the decision with WPTV.
"Your computers were protected. If you really wanted to clear the air, could you have turned them over yourself?", asked WPTV anchor, Roxanne Stein.
Foley answered, "There are legislative protective materials on my computer. There are constituents information on them that are sensitive to them, so to turn my computers over to authorities, but we did work closely with the Justice Department and the FBI, the child exploitations unit, they were able to see every image on my computer."
Words, though, ended this congressman's bright career. Foley is keenly aware that many constituents have never heard from him until now. Foley was emotional when he addressed the locals who supported him.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I apologize. I don't even want to be crying on set, but they deserve to know that my failings and my actions were so embarrassing to my family, to my partner, and to them, and they trusted me and I'm sorry I let them down."
For the past two years, Foley says he’s often sought refuge along the lake trail on Palm Beach, walking his dogs.
"There are many times I said, 'What did i do? Why did i let this happen? How did i let this happen? And my life is unalterably changed. There is no going back… I had so many unique opportunities and i felt like i destroyed them in a very sad way," said Foley.
For the past two years, Foley has had time to reflect on what happened, and why he sent inappropriate emails and instant messages to pages.
"I think part of the same thing that made me successful made me weak. I was available to everyone. If a page or a parent or the janitor called me or emailed me, I would respond, so that was part of my own failing to determine the appropriateness of the response. But no one was outside my world or my oportunity to help, so if someone was confiding in me, whether it be the page or the parent, that interaction was real and genuine and maybe I was too open and available. Maybe I allowed myself to walk in to situations that i shouldn't have," said Foley.
For the first time, Foley spoke candidly about being gay, and says keeping it secret was a personal and political decision.
"No question. You don't let people into your life. And again, that's another attempt to conceal the real you, and that's part of the politics problem… People don't accept you for who you are," said Foley "I think if i could have been more open about my life, people told me obviously afterwards, 'Everyone knew you were gay. What would be the problem?' Well, just uttering the words was difficult."
He now speaks openly about his partner, Layne Nisenbaum, who stood by him.
"Oh, the extraordinary act of love. The capacity for somebody to love you that deeply, where they will not run from you in the moment of crisis this humiliating, it's embarrasing to people. I mean sometimes the person who does it isn't as mortified as the people around you because they don't understand what happened here. In your own skin, you know that things were awry so you knew this bouncing around in your head was not healthy. But for those that are witnessing your journey, they just see the best and greatest potential," said Foley.
It was a two-year period with many challenges.
"i think the lowest was the embarrassment I knew I created for the people I love the most: my parents, my family, my partner, the community," said Foley.
Another major challenge, Foley says, was trying to mourn his father’s death, when a private family moment became a photo-opportunity for news organizations.
"My father's passing was a difficult time for all of us. The media hounding me at that very moment, that very private moment, I mean, I'd never seen more cameras in my life trying to capture a picture of a former member of Congress. You own news cruisers in front of my driveway who wouldn't let me leave the driveway without getting that precious shot. That was a difficult time and it should have been handled differently," said Foley
After Foley’s resignation from Congress, voters elected Democrat Tim Mahoney. Two years later, Mahoney lost his re-election bid after a public scandal involving Mahoney’s multiple mistresses. Foley spoke about Mahoney.
"Watching Tim was not anything that made me say 'Yipee Yi Oh!' and 'He got what he deserved.' It's another person who falls short of expectations; another person who is wrestling with some demons. There's a reason for some of the behavior and it's not for me to sit here and have a pity-party or a celebration. The collateral damage that happened to Tim is exactly what happened to me. And the people he hurt; the people i hurt, none of them deserved what I gave them."
Today, Foley is ensconced in his real estate business. In his office are several reminders of his congressional past: an office rug, a souvenir 'Senate' chair, a Capitol Hill painting. Foley is constantly reminded of those who elected him, and had a message for them:
"I hope the people I love in this community know that I never would have intentionally hurt them or let them down. This was not an act of hubris. This was not an act of self-destruction that I would control and this is clearly something, in reflection, I would have acted differently, so I would hope they know how much I enjoyed my service to them and how mortified I am about my behavior to have caused them such horrific embarrassment."

_________________________
If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

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#261390 - 11/12/08 09:35 PM Re: Mark Foley interview [Re: Trish4850]
pluckmemory Offline


Registered: 03/27/08
Posts: 552
We were just fondling... Let's say it was 40 years ago, almost 40 years ago, so why bring this up at this late stage?" Mercieca asked.

**
Sounds to me that Foley was not his only victim. Still, I don't like Foley using the abuse as an excuse for his inappropriate behavior.



Edited by pluckmemory (11/12/08 09:36 PM)

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#262686 - 11/19/08 11:44 AM Re: Mark Foley interview [Re: pluckmemory]
Blurry Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/17/08
Posts: 24



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#263751 - 11/25/08 08:51 PM Re: Mark Foley interview [Re: Blurry]
Tinman Offline


Registered: 05/30/08
Posts: 359
Loc: Lake Forest, CA
Stop with the excuses! I never abused anyone. Never even came close to it.

We are responsible for our actions.

Those who use abuse as an excuse cheapen what happened to us.

_________________________
Tinman
"I finally have my heart!"

To the perps: Don't worry about me coming after you. But you damn well better watch out for God! "Vengeance is mine", saith the Lord

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#265717 - 12/07/08 12:13 AM Re: Mark Foley interview [Re: Tinman]
Still Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6317
Loc: 2 NATO Nations
I did not see depiction of an "excuse" there at all. I see an explaination of the source of his illness and actions.

How many of us act out/in with drugs, alcohol etc. We can point to the source of the problem without calling it "an excuse."

When I was reading the article, I thought parts of it sounded like a My Story entry.

Would Mark Foley be welcomed here at MS? I wonder these days. I truly do.

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#265718 - 12/07/08 12:19 AM Re: Mark Foley interview [Re: Still]
WalkingSouth Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16263
I think Rob hits a very important point.

Many, if not most of us have done things that were ill-advised in the way of acting out that can be directly correlated with our abuse issues from childhood.

It's a matter of the facts, not an excuse.

There are those who use their childhood trauma as an excuse, that is true. I don't know which category Mr. Foley fits in.

_________________________
“Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy ____…! What a ride!’” ~Hunter S. Thompson

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#265730 - 12/07/08 12:46 AM Re: Mark Foley interview [Re: WalkingSouth]
Still Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
Posts: 6317
Loc: 2 NATO Nations
Well, look at it from a personal angle:

If childhood trauma is not an explaination of life's results, effects and actions, why would any of us need this site? Why would any of us be in therapy? Why would we even recognize CSA as an issue in our life?

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#265782 - 12/07/08 10:51 AM Re: Mark Foley interview [Re: Trish4850]
melliferal Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/03/05
Posts: 1159
Originally Posted By: Trish4850

Shortly after Foley’s resignation and these revelations, a WPTV producer interviewed the priest in question, Father Anthony Mercieca, by phone from his home on the Maltese island of Gozo, in an interview that made national news.
Mercieca, now in his early 70’s, acknowledged the abuse, but downplayed the effect it would have on a young boy. "Once maybe I touched him or so, but didn't, it wasn't -- because it's not something you call, I mean, rape or penetration or anything like that you know. We were just fondling... Let's say it was 40 years ago, almost 40 years ago, so why bring this up at this late stage?" Mercieca asked. "Anyway, he will overcome it, with a psychiatrist you know. Mark is a very intelligent man."


Typical perp.

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Children cannot consent; they can only comply.

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#265785 - 12/07/08 11:04 AM Re: Mark Foley interview [Re: melliferal]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Originally Posted By: Trish4850
We were just fondling... Let's say it was 40 years ago, almost 40 years ago, so why bring this up at this late stage?" Mercieca asked.

Silly me. And here I was thinking it was something serious when it was only an adult molesting a scared and confused boy who trusted him because he was his priest.

Sometimes I wonder what planet these characters are from, and who they think they're fooling.

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#267689 - 12/18/08 11:08 AM Re: Mark Foley interview [Re: roadrunner]
Stretch73 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/27/08
Posts: 336
Loc: Sea Isle City, NJ
Total bullshit! Alcohol makes you a bad husband, or a bad father, or a bad employee. It doesn't make you a pedophile. I don't think Mark Foley is a pedophile, because the male pages he was accused of pursuing were teenagers, so maybe he's just a rung or two higher on the ladder.

I am fucking sick and tired of hearing, "I was abused. I was an alcoholic. That's why I molested children." It's bullshit!

I was abused and yet I have never molested a child and I the thought has never crossed my mind. I have drank the equivilent of the Indian Ocean in whiskey form, and the thought never crossed my mind.

I'm not saying that the "cycle of abuse" doesn't exist, but why does it only exist after an abuser is caught abusing?


Everyday, I am more and more afraid of where my son goes to school, who are the teachers, do I really trust the babysitter or the grandparents. I mean, this goes through my mind on a day-to-day, hour-to-hour basis. I worry about taking my eye off of him for a split second in the supermarket, and I worry about worrying about him in 5 years and 10 years. This is fucked up! I shouldn't have to worry about some sickjob out there who might be preying on my kid, and you're kid, and I'm getting tired of these self-righteous, born again, self-proclaimed apologist, who only apologize after they're been caught!

This just boils my blood! I could go on and on, and I'd just get angrier and angrier. My philosophy is this; Touch my kid and you die!

Rich

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