Disgraced Ex-Congressman Foley Emerges for Father's Funeral
WEST PALM BEACH, Florida – A former Republican congressman sobbed Saturday as he delivered a eulogy at his father's graveside, alluding to his resignation from Congress amid an Internet sex scandal as disheartening to his dad.
"I disappointed him so much," Former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley said crying, while surrounded by about 50 friends and family. "But he was so good of a man."
Edward Foley, a longtime educator, died Tuesday of complications from cancer. He was 85.
The father and son had a close relationship over the years, though in the last weeks of Edward Foley's life, the former congressman had been in a secluded Arizona treatment facility.
He checked himself in on Oct. 1 for what his attorneys said was for treatment of "alcoholism and other behavioral problems." Since then, he hadn't been seen publicly until he returned to Florida to attend his father's wake Friday night.
Foley resigned from Congress on Sept. 29 after being confronted with sexually explicit computer messages he sent to male teenage pages who had worked on Capitol Hill.
Edward Foley would often campaign with his son until he was diagnosed with cancer in 2003. Mark Foley then abandoned a bid for the U.S. Senate, saying he needed to be with his family. The decision to bow out of the race also came shortly after an alternative newspaper reported that Mark Foley was gay. Foley denounced the allegations as rumors spread by his political opponents, but he refused to answer questions about whether he was homosexual.
"It's just been a real hard time," Foley told The Associated Press on Friday.
Soon after Foley entered treatment, his attorneys announced that he was gay, suffered from alcoholism and had been molested by a priest as a teenage altar boy in Florida.
The Rev. Anthony Mercieca, who has retired to Malta, has admitted having inappropriate encounters with Foley, including massaging him in the nude and skinny-dipping together, but he denies having sex with Foley. Church officials are investigating whether Mercieca had inappropriate contact with others.
Florida authorities have opened a criminal investigation into whether Foley broke any laws related to his lurid communications with the teens. Federal authorities are also investigating.
Foley's attorneys have said he never had inappropriate sexual contact with a minor. Meanwhile, a House ethics committee is looking into whether senior Republican Party officials hid what they knew about the computer messages.