The lawyer for former Congressman Mark Foley says the disgraced lawmaker is gay, and was the victim of sexual molestation as a teenager.
Foley resigned from Congress Friday in the wake of reports of lurid e-mails to male teens serving as congressional pages, wistv.com says.
Attorney David Roth said Foley was molested between ages 13 and 15. He declined to identify the clergyman or the church, but Foley is Roman Catholic.
He also acknowledged for the first time that the former congressman is gay, saying the disclosure was part of his client's"recovery."
"Mark Foley wants you to know he is a gay man,"Roth told reporters as Republicans struggled with fallout from Foley's resignation.
Foley"does not blame the trauma he sustained as a young adolescent for his totally inappropriate e-mails"and instant messages, Roth said."He continues to offer no excuse whatsoever for his conduct."
Foley, who is 52 and single, represented parts of Palm Beach County for 12 years until he abruptly resigned Friday after being accused of sending lurid Internet messages to teenage boys who served as pages on Capitol Hill. The FBI and Florida law enforcement officials are investigating whether he violated any laws, foxnews.com reports.
The race for Foley's seat has been thrust into the national spotlight as Democrats seek a net gain of 15 Republican seats to retake power in the House. Foley was considered a shoo-in for re-election before the messages surfaced.
On Monday, state Republican Party leaders selected state Rep. Joe Negron to replace Foley as their candidate in the Nov. 7 election, but under state law, Foley's name cannot be removed from the ballot even though he has withdrawn. Votes for Foley will be tallied for Negron, the AP reports.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik