Monday, October 02, 2006

An odd feature of Congress

Rep. Mark Foley's Shocking Downfall - Newsweek National News -

Over the weekend, a gay Republican resigns over some (apparently) explicit E flirting with a male teenage page.

From the Newsweek story:

Foley's sexual leanings were also well known, or at least suspected, by a particularly vulnerable group on Capitol Hill. Every year Congress hires about 100 pages, who can be seen in their distinctive blue uniforms scurrying through the halls, running errands for lawmakers. The pages have been embroiled in earlier sex scandals. In 1983, a pair of congressmen admitted to sexual relations with underage pages (one with a girl, one with a boy). After that, the pages were housed in a dormitory and fairly closely chaperoned. A former female page, who asked not to be identified to protect her privacy, told NEWSWEEK that she and other pages had regularly seen Foley stop and talk to pages on the House floor and in the cloakroom, lingering with them and asking them to describe their experiences in Congress. "We just gradually figured out he was flirting with the guys," said the page. "It made a lot of the guys uneasy. He was kind of creepy."

Why employ teenagers as pages anyway? Seems an odd feature of Congress to me, maybe more appropriate to an earlier era where kids did routinely go out to start making a living while a teenager.

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