In his first interview on the sex scandal that pushed him out of Congress, Mark Foley isn’t afraid to show his emotional side. Asked what he thinks about “The Curse of the Mark Foley Seat”, which is what people now call Florida’s 16th after his successor, a Democrat, was caught up in a sex scandal of his own:
“It’s not what I had hoped would be my lasting legacy,” he said, pausing to brush away tears.”
America, you’ve made Mark Foley cry. Foley points out that he never did anything illegal (which is true) and feels that he’s been unfairly maligned as a pedophile.
“There was never anywhere in those conversations where someone said, ‘Stop,’ or ‘I’m not enjoying this,’ or ‘This is inappropriate’ … but again, I’m the adult here, I’m the congressman,” Foley said. “The fact is I allowed it to happen. That’s where my responsibility lies.”
Foley had built a national reputation as an advocate for tougher penalties against child sexual predators. As co-chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children’s Caucus, he helped craft a law to protect children on the Internet.
Still, he said, there was no hypocrisy.
“The work I was doing was involving young children … You know, you hear the term ‘pedophile.’ That is prepubescent,” Foley said, noting a “huge difference” from lurid chats with teens on the brink of adulthood.
“At the end of the day, they were instant messages that were extraordinarily inappropriate,” he added, breathing a heavy sigh, his eyes wandering toward the ceiling.”
We’re not sure that Foley understands that his behavior would be unethical and a flagrant abuse of his authority as a Congressman even if he were doing it to women, but we’re glad he realizes nobody’s naming a post office after him anytime soon:
“In public life, you dream of the day they’ll name a hospital after you, or a bridge or a post office,” Foley said, twisting a gold band on his ring finger identical to one his high-society dermatologist boyfriend wears.
“If I had a post office named after me today, they’d probably return to sender,” he said. “It’s not a pleasant place to be. It’s not what I envisioned … working this hard all my life to end up in an ash heap because of a momentary lapse of judgment.”
He should get his boyfriend to open The Mark Foley Dermal Abrasion Clinic. We don’t know which is the sadder thing: That Mark Foley is wallowing in a hot tub of self-pity and despair or that the only outlet he could give his “exclusive interview” to was the AP.