Satan has a lot to do with the Chandra Levy scandal, the Rev. Adrian Condit, Rep. Gary Condit's father, told a California newspaper Tuesday.
In their first joint interview since the disappearance of the woman who is now inextricably linked to their son, the Condits told the Ceres Courier that they pitied Gary, who they said is "just about destroyed" by the rumors.
"People are destroying him not only [in] reputation but him," said a tearful Jean Condit.
Congressman Condit's parents side with their son's version of events, despite police sources who say the congressman, a 53-year-old married father of two, admitted to them to having had an affair with Levy, a 24-year-old former Bureau of Prisons intern from his California district.
"He didn't admit to having an affair. He admitted to having a relationship," Rev. Condit said, adding that he was "not sure" what "relationship" specifically meant.
The Condits were troubled by constant unattributed media mentions of their son's admission to an affair, as well as other information that has been unattributed.
However, they said responsibility for the media frenzy ultimately lies with the public's appetite for steamy details.
"When you tell all that you know to tell, what else is there to tell?" said Rev. Condit. "Where are you or anybody else getting the idea that he hasn't told it all? Just because he won't talk about some type of sexual encounter with this girl? Is that the reason they're saying he's not telling it all?"
"That's all people want to hear. 'We had sex,'" said Mrs. Condit.
A Matter of Integrity
The parents of the congressman disagree about what they believe happened to Levy. Rev. Condit believes she is dead. Mrs. Condit feels Levy pulled off her own disappearance to create attention for herself.
They agree that not enough focus has been placed on Levy's other alleged affairs — and too much on their son.
"Gary has given his service and his life to this community," the Condits said. "We've been here [in Ceres] all that time and Gary has not had one accusation on his character. It just blows my mind that people would even think that he would have anything to do with her disappearance.
Both defend their son's perceived evasiveness as his unwillingness to damage the reputation of Chandra Levy.
"Gary has taken a lot of crap because he's trying to be a gentleman and not expose her," said Rev. Condit. He later said his son "hurts" because Chandra is gone.
A 'Great Mistake'
Rev. Condit called his son's relationship with Levy a "great mistake."
Asked whether spiritual forces might be complicit in their son's trouble, Rev. Condit replied, "Sure, Satan had a big time role in this."
He added that his son has sought help from God.
"He's confessed to God what he's done wrong," the minister said. "He's cleared that up with God because I have prayed with him several times. In all this stuff, there's not any sense of forgiveness. It's all judgmental. Where does God give you the right to judge? He's asked God to forgive him. And who else is there to ask?
The Condits also said they believe their son's account of his relationship with flight attendant Anne Marie Smith.
"If Gary told me he didn't [have an affair with Smith], I believe him," said Rev. Condit.
Smith claims the congressman pressured her to sign an affidavit denying the relationship. Condit said he didn't ask anyone to lie in the investigation, and told ABC News' Connie Chung that he did not have a relationship with Smith.