WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Disgraced former Congressman Mark Foley, who claimed he was sexually abused by a Roman Catholic clergyman when he was a teen, will reveal the man's identity to the Archdiocese of Miami, his attorney said Tuesday.
No criminal charges can be filed because the statute of limitations on sexual assault expired long ago, but the archdiocese requested information about Foley's accusations, attorney Gerald Richman said.
"We're talking about issues that happened 36 to 38 years ago," Richman said. "This is all part of the healing process for Mark Foley. He thinks it's important to go ahead and bring this information out and hope and encourage other people who have been similarly abused to go ahead and come forward."
Richman said that when details are released they would deflate critics who have accused Foley, 52, of making up the abuse allegation shortly after he was confronted last month with sexually explicit electronic messages he had sent to teenage male pages.
"It's going to be very clear in the coming days that it is a fact as opposed to any possible allegations that it was a fantasy or something made up for political purposes," Richman said.
Richman said Foley has not told him the name of the clergyman but has told another attorney. He said the clergyman is still alive.
Archdiocese spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta said the church had urged Foley to identify his abuser but said she was not aware that any meeting with Foley had been scheduled. She said the archdiocese's attorney is on vacation and not immediately available.
Foley, a Florida Republican, abruptly resigned last month over the sexually explicit Internet communications he had with teenage boys who worked on Capitol Hill. He has since entered an alcohol rehabilitation program at an undisclosed location.
His criminal defense lawyer, David Roth, has said Foley was an alcoholic and gay but denied any sexual contact with minors. He has not been charged with a crime.
Foley's departure left behind an Internet-age sex scandal that shook Republican confidence -- and poll numbers -- little more than a month before elections at which their control of the House will be tested. It also threw the spotlight on House Speaker Dennis Hastert regarding conflicting claims about what senior lawmakers knew, when they learned it and what they did about it.
Before the scandal, Foley was a popular incumbent who was easily expected to defeat Democrat Tim Mahoney. Now Mahoney is the favorite in the race.
Foley's name will remain on the ballot, but votes for him will count for state Rep. Joe Negron.