Friday, October 06, 2006

Ex-page says he got messages from Foley

Yahoo! News
Ex-page says he got messages from Foley
By GREG BLUESTEIN, Associated Press Writer

A former congressional page said Thursday he received sexually suggestive messages from then-Rep. Mark Foley in 1997.

Tyson Vivyan's account appears to show the earliest exchange of suggestive messages reported so far between Foley and teens who had served in the Capitol page program. Previous accounts placed the earliest contacts in 2003.

Vivyan, 26, told The Associated Press that Foley began sending him instant messages about a month or two after his nine-month stint as a page ended in June 1997.

Vivyan, who gave interviews this week to other media, said he never met Foley personally during his stint as a page, other than brief greetings while working in the cloakroom beside the House chamber where members take breaks.

A few months later, he said, he started getting instant messages via computer from a person with the screen name MAF54, which has been linked in news reports to Foley. He said he wasn't sure who it was, but the person knew his name and physical description. He said the person asked personal questions, such as his sexual orientation.

Vivyan said he figured the person had to be on Capitol Hill, and began looking up initials in a congressional guide. He said that when he found Foley's initials — MAF, born in 1954 — he realized who it was.

"It was almost surreal. Not only was I conversing with a congressman in a personal manner, I was conversing in a sexual manner," Vivyan said.

After he guessed it was Foley, the person continued to contact him. Vivyan said he tried to turn the talk to politics. Foley would often stop talking and contact him a week later with suggestive messages.

Vivyan also said he was invited to Foley's brownstone in Washington. Vivyan said he didn't want to go alone, so brought a fellow page with him. He said they had pizza and soft drinks, and nothing sexual happened.

David Roth, attorney for the Florida Republican former congressman, declined to comment on the allegations.

Foley, 52, resigned Friday. He has since entered an alcohol rehabilitation facility at an undisclosed location. Through his lawyer, he has said he is gay but denied any sexual contact with minors.

Vivyan said he was nominated as a page by Rep. John. J. Duncan, R-Tenn. Don Walker, Duncan's deputy chief of staff, confirmed Thursday to the AP that Vivyan was a page from Duncan's district.

"We did not get any complaints form him while he was a page or after he was a page or anytime thereafter until Monday," Walker said. "As soon as we learned of it we turned it over to the authorities."

Vivyan said he was interviewed this week by the FBI. FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett in Atlanta declined comment.