Florida authorities launch full criminal investigation of Foley messages Geoff Leung at 10:18 AM ET
[JURIST] The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) [official website] has opened a full criminal investigation into former Republican congressman Mark Foley [Congressional profile] in connection with his sexually explicit computer messages to young male pages disclosed [JURIST report] earlier this year. The FDLE began preliminary investigations shortly after Foley stepped down on September 29 and announced the start of its full probe Thursday. The FBI [official website] has also been examining the emails and IMs for violations of federal law. Foley has denied having any sexual contact with minors [attorney statement, PDF].
Foley may be criminally liable under Title XLVI, Chapter 847 s. 847.0135(3) [text; legislature website] of the Florida Statutes, which makes seducing a child through the Internet a third degree felony. The US House Ethics Committee [official website] has launched an inquiry [JURIST report] into allegations that senior Republican leaders knew of Foley's conduct as early as 2002 but took no action. BBC News has more. The Miami Herald has local coverage.
Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.