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Friday, October 13, 2006

About Congressman Kolbe and the pages

The Grand Canyon is for dating

Feds probe trip that Kolbe made with pages
NBC exclusive: Congressman alleged to have been inappropriate in '96
By Jim Popkin, Aram Roston and the NBC News Investigative Unit

Updated: 1:55 p.m. ET Oct 13, 2006

WASHINGTON - Federal prosecutors in Arizona have opened a preliminary investigation of a camping trip Congressman Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., took 10 years ago that included two teenage congressional pages, a Justice Department spokesman told NBC News. NBC News first reported on the camping and rafting trip on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the Justice Department in Washington said that the U.S. attorney in Arizona has started a "preliminary assessment" of the trip, after an unidentified source made allegations about the congressman's behavior on the expedition.

"The U.S. attorney is looking into allegations about the congressman taking a trip with the two pages," the spokesman said.

As NBC News first reported, Kolbe took a tour down the Grand Canyon in July 1996 with a group that included two 17-year-old males who had recently left the congressional page program.

NBC News interviewed several people who were on the trip, and their accounts vary. One participant, who requested anonymity, said he was uncomfortable with the attention Kolbe paid to one of the former pages. He was "creeped out by it," he said, adding that there was a lot of "fawning, petting and touching" on the teenager's arms, shoulders and back by Kolbe.

NBC also interviewed the two former pages, who are now in their late 20s. One of them said that Kolbe was a gentleman and never acted in an improper fashion. He recalled that the pair spent time in Kolbe's house at one point — and briefly were alone with him on the trip — and that Kolbe always acted professionally and decently.

The other would not comment on Kolbe's behavior during the trip or characterize it in any way.

"I don't want to get into the details," he said. "I just don't want to get into this... because I might possibly be considered for a job in the administration."

However, the former page — who is the one to whom Kolbe allegedly paid special attention — said he had a "blast" on the trip and did not report anything improper to this parents or any House officials after the trip. He said he has a favorable impression of the page program to this day and likes Kolbe.
What I said Monday and maintain, is that it is improper to take teenage pages on a trip with adult staff. Doing so leads to charges of an alternative agenda.

My bet, one of his former staffers is the one who went to the US Attorney

It also explains why Foley blew him off.

Is it likely to lead to a prosecution? Not unless they find other things indicating a crime.

But the fact is that NBC has been on Kolbe's trail since last week, because the rumors of him liking Latino teenagers is all over the Hill and the gay community.

What people forget is thart Kolbe could be a nice guy, be great with everyone, but then express interest in a teenager, and everyone see it as natural. Foley was a sloppy drunk. Kolbe could have been much more clever in his approaches to teen boys. Even on the trip, some people saw things, some didn't. Because some people are very clever in what they do

But my point is this: when adults seek to spend time with kids they don't know well, and having pages over to your home is as much a red flag as anything. Which is why he invited two kids along as well.

Oh, it's a witchhunt, oh, you don't understand how gay men mentor teens.


Mentoring is fine. They do it all the time at the Hetrick-Martin institute, New York school for openly gay teens. However, of all the reports of teachers who date kids, none from that school. Why? Because maybe they screen their teachers carefully?

Kolbe's interest in pages, opening his home to them, taking them on trips, which is far more than people would expect from their bosses.

posted by Steve @ 5:06:00 PM

5:06:00 PM

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