Patterico's Pontifications

10/1/2006

Stop the Myth That Hastert Knew Foley Was Sexually Interested in Boys

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:28 am

Without any evidence, lefty bloggers are saying that the Republican leadership knew that Foley was sexually interested in young boys.

Oliver Willis:

Apparently several members of the Republican leadership knew there was a man interested sexually in boys in their midst and they kept quiet about it.

John Aravosis:

1. Roll call reports that Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), who chairs the House page board, met with Foley in 2005 to investigate the creepy email exchange with the 16 year old page.

2. What was the extent of Shimkus’ investigation of whether a member of Congress was soliciting sex with a minor, or at the very least bordering on sexually harassing a minor?

But the Roll Call story Aravosis links clearly says:

House sources said that Foley denied any improper sexual activity when confronted by Shimkus and Trandahl. Their information only included some August 2005 e-mails that contained no references to sex or other improper behavior, and not the other messages that have been reported by ABC News.

The content of the e-mails the leadership knew about has been summarized by ABC News as follows:

In the series of e-mails, obtained by ABC News, from Rep. Foley (R-FL) to the former page, Foley asks the young man how old he is, what he wants for his birthday and requests a photo of him.

Overly friendly, but not sexual.

That’s not stopping the lefty bloggers from pretending otherwise.

Kevin Drum:

Our story so far: Republican congressman Mark Foley has resigned after a 16-year-old former House page complained that he had received repeated emails from Foley that he described as “sick sick sick sick sick…..” You can see Foley’s emails here, and the New York Times reports that there were more:

By Friday, other pages had come forward with more blatant instant messages. “What ya wearing?” Mr. Foley wrote to one, according to the network. “Tshirt and shorts,” the teenager responded. “Love to slip them off of you,” Mr. Foley replied.

This is bad enough. But Foley resigned very abruptly after the emails came to light, and it turns out this was probably because the Republican House leadership had known about Foley’s behavior for some time and had simply been hoping nobody would find out about it. The Republican chairman of the House Page Board learned of Foley’s behavior last year and House Majority leader John Boehner learned of it sometime this spring.

Now, maybe the lefty bloggers are making an honest mistake. I mistakenly believed that Hastert had been told about the worst of the messages, and posted something to that effect. But I corrected the error within 19 minutes. I’m ashamed I was taken in for 19 minutes; I’m usually less prone to jumping to conclusions based on limited information. But it happens to all of us sometimes. That’s why entries can be updated.

When will these lefties correct their error?

Or is it an “error” at all?

And when will they ask how long a Democrat operative was sitting on the evidence? I guess it makes a better splash closer to an election — and if that means that Foley gets to continue his harassing messages for a few more months, well, you just gotta look at the greater good. Electing Democrats is more important than stopping harassment of children.

UPDATE: Slate has the entire set of instant messages here. They are truly disgusting, and indeed possibly criminal. Foley discusses how he masturbates and how the teen masturbates. Foley says that he has an erection, and then talks about how he would like to slip off the teen’s clothing and grab his penis. It is revolting.

There is no evidence Hastert knew about that.


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