Sponsor of page questioned by House ethics committee

The sex scandal that has hurt Republicans in the polls expanded on two fronts Wednesday, as the ethics committee continued its investigation and the congressman at the center of the scandal planned to reveal the name of a clergyman he says molested him as a teenager.

Republican Congressman Mark Foley resigned last month after he was confronted with sexually explicit electronic communications he had sent to male teenage congressional assistants, called pages. The ethics panel in the House of Representatives is investigating his actions and questions about how the Republican leadership handled the matter.

Recent polls show that both issues have contributed to a decline in Republican popularity just three weeks before the Nov. 7 elections, when all 435 House seats are up for a vote and Democrats hope to regain control of Congress.

In West Palm Beach, Florida, Foley's attorney, Gerald Richman, said Tuesday that the former congressman would reveal to the Archdiocese of Miami the name of the Roman Catholic priest he says abused him.

Richman said Foley has not told him the name of the clergyman but has told another attorney. He said the clergyman is still alive.

Richman said Foley has been "keeping this deep dark secret inside of him for many years."

Some have charged that Foley made up the allegations as an excuse or to elicit public sympathy in the face of the congressional scandal.

Foley has been in seclusion at an alcohol rehabilitation facility at an undisclosed location, reports AP.

A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Miami urged Foley to identify his alleged abuser so the healing process can begin. Without the name of the priest, Archdiocese spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta said, there is little the church can do.

In Washington, a Republican congressman and sponsor of a page who later received questionable e-mails from Foley went before a House ethics panel Wednesday to explain how his office handled the teen's complaint last fall.