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Foley allegedly
sent sexual IMs to male page in 1997

Foley allegedly
sent sexual IMs to male page in 1997

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A former male congressional page says he received sexually suggestive messages from then-congressman Mark Foley in 1997, much earlier than previous accounts of misconduct.

A former congressional page said Thursday he received sexually suggestive messages from then-representative Mark Foley in 1997. Tyson Vivyan's account is the earliest publicly reported claim so far of suggestive messages between Foley and teens who 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 time 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 that the person knew Vivyan's name and physical description. He said the person asked personal questions and inquired about his sexual orientation.

Vivyan said he figured the person had to be on Capitol Hill, and he 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 then contact him again 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 he 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 last 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. (AP)

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