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Foley Scandal Update
2006-10-25

This article shared 1663 times since Wed Oct 25, 2006
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by Bob Roehr

The Foley 'scandal' has degenerated into a mix of tedium and farce over the last week, with the tedium provided by closed-door congressional ethics hearings on the Hill, and the farce by a Catholic priest from Foley's youth.

Jeff Trandahl, the former House Clerk who is openly gay, testified before the panel for four hours on Oct. 19. He declined to speak with the press following that testimony.

The picture that has emerged of Trandahl is one of a strict professional who played by the rules, and strove to be nonpartisan. When he left Capitol Hill after 23 years, he chose a relatively low-paying job with a wildlife organization rather than a significantly more lucrative one involving lobbying.

In 'How Foley skirted rules to pursue relationships,' the Washington Post documented how the closeted Congressman doted on the young pages. But interviews with more than 30 former pages who had contact with Foley could cite no incidence of him having sex with a former page, let alone with a teen while he was serving as a page.

The electronic exchanges always began after the pages returned home, and sometimes turned sexual. One source said that Foley's online overtures 'put the ball always in the page's court ... . I would have to make the first move.'

The Post wrote, 'Most of all, his interest in the boys coincided with the ambitions of many of the teenagers, who craved contact with members in hopes of fostering political careers of their own.'

One source told the newspaper, 'He played along, then slowed his responses until Foley took the hint and stopped [ increasingly sexual messages ] . He never considered reporting Foley to authorities. 'I figured maybe someday I will want to be involved in Congress. I didn't want to make an enemy.''

'So far this is the ultimate Washington sex scandal: There is no sex,' wrote Post columnist Richard Cohen. 'Foley was creepy and appallingly inappropriate, but so far that seems to be about it.'

CATHOLIC CONNECTION

Meanwhile in Florida, Foley's attorney turned over the name of the priest who allegedly molested him to the Archdiocese of Miami. The incidents are believed to have occurred around 1966, when Foley was about 13 and an altar boy, with Rev. Anthony Mercieca, then about 30.

The priest is now retired to a family home in Malta in the Mediterranean, though he continues to serve Mass. He told the media that he and Foley had a sibling-like relationship, although the two skinny-dipped and sat naked in saunas and in hotel rooms on overnight trips.

Mercieca acknowledged massaging and possibly fondling the young Foley. 'It's not something you'd call rape or penetration or anything like that. It was just fondling. It was sort of like a spontaneous thing,' he told WPTV.

Mercieca also said that he was going through something like a nervous breakdown at the time, 'taking some pills and alcohol, and maybe I did something that [ Foley ] didn't like.'

The Archdiocese has barred Mercieca from performing the duties of a priest while it investigates. It has no record of other complaints against the priest; however, it has asked people to step forward if Mercieca had inappropriate contact with them.


This article shared 1663 times since Wed Oct 25, 2006
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