Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Congressional Sex Scandals

Legal Investigation

Florida Department of Law Enforcement seal
Florida Department of Law
Enforcement seal

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement opened a criminal investigation into the Foley instant messages with the 17-year-old. According the FDLE's report, boy stopped communicating with Foley soon after the exchange was published by ABC News. Before that, however, Foley had invited the boy to come visit his apartment in Washington when the former page was in town for a reunion. Foley, again over instant message, had offered to perform oral sex on the boy, according to the FDLE report. The boy did not see Foley that weekend and soon ceased communicating with him by instant message. At the reunion, he spoke to four other pages who described similar sexual conversations with Foley, according to the FDLE report.

One former page at the reunion, Patrick McDonald, was told that up to four pages in his class of 2001-2002 were sent sexual messages by Foley. According to the Washington Post, McDonald had said at the reunion, "If this gets out, it will destroy him."

The Florida investigation was hampered by an inability to obtain an authenticated copy of the instant message transcript. AOL no longer had a copy because the conversation was more than three years old. The House of Representatives declined to give the FDLE access to Foley's computers. Likewise, Foley also refused to give the investigators access to his account.

Seal of the US House of Representatives
Seal of the U.S. House of
Representatives

Without the actual conversation that took place while Foley was in Florida, the law enforcement agency couldn't build a case against him and dropped its investigation.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation also opened an investigation into whether Foley broke federal law by sending the messages. Days after the Foley messages became public, Dennis Hastert asked the Justice Department to look into them and whether Congress acted appropriately once it became aware of the content. In September 2008, the bureau said no charges would be brought against Foley.

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