An attorney for ex-Congressman Mark Foley of Florida says his client will reveal the name of the Roman Catholic priest he says sexually abused him as a young boy. Foley abruptly resigned from the House of Representatives two weeks ago after he was confronted with sexually explicit messages he sent to young male congressional assistants. Many say that the scandal will hurt the Republican Party in elections November 7.
Former Congressman Mark Foley came up with another surprise late Tuesday, when his attorney told reporters in West Palm Beach, Florida he would name the Roman Catholic priest he alleges sexually abused him as a youth.
Foley's attorney, Gerald Richman, did not say when the name would be revealed, but he ruled out criminal charges against the priest:
"There is no basis to file criminal charges because of a number of legal obstacles, one of which is the statute of limitations," he said. "We are talking about issues that happened 36 to 38 years ago."
Two days after his resignation, the 12-year-congressman entered a rehabilitation facility for treatment of alcoholism. Another one of his attorneys announced that Foley is homosexual and that he had been abused by a clergyman as a teenager. Foley has denied any sexual contact with minors.
Richman said the priest who allegedly molested Foley is still alive, but it is unknown if he is still in south Florida or still involved in parish work. He said naming the priest would be part of the "healing process" for Foley.
Reacting to the news, the Miami archdiocese spokesperson, Mary Ross Agosta, called for Foley to name the clergyman as soon as possible.
"We need to know as quickly as possible for a few reasons," she said. "Number one is to help Mr. Foley on his journey. Number two, if it's a priest in active ministry, we need to approach him about those allegations. Then we need to see if there have been any other victims of sexual abuse."
Agosta said putting allegations out there without naming the priest unfairly puts a cloud of suspicion over all the priests who have served in south Florida.
Fallout from the Foley scandal is still affecting congressional races across the country. In Washington, the House ethics committee is investigating Foley's actions to determine whether any government officials covered up his alleged misconduct.
In his former district, Mark Foley's name will appear on ballots because it was too late to change them, but votes for him will go to his Republican replacement, Joe Negron.