He just doesn't get it
Lawmaker defends page program
By Ray Long Tribune staff reporter Published October 4, 2006, 8:30 PM CDT
PRINGFIELD -- The Illinois lawmaker who oversees the Congressional page program said Wednesday that teens who participate are "safer in our program than in a lot of homes."Sure, and you can trust the word of a child sex predator.
Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) defended his actions as chairman of the page board in an interview with the Tribune on Wednesday, saying he moved quickly to confront former Rep. Mark Foley of Florida based only on information about 2005 e-mail traffic that wasn't sexually explicit.
Shimkus acknowledged he did not ask Foley if there were any other electronic exchanges with pages, such as the sexually suggestive instant messages from 2003 that first surfaced on Friday and led to Foley's swift resignation.
"The thing that's frustrating to me is that I'm not the bad guy here," Shimkus said. "Leadership's not the bad guy. The bad guy is whoever had these explicit instant messages that were done in 2003 and held them. That's the bad guy.... because those instant messages are what put these kids at risk."
He insisted the page program is safe. "They are as safe there as they are at home," he said. "In fact, in a lot of homes—they're safer in our program than they are in a lot of homes."
Nothing since then indicated Foley was more involved with pages, Shimkus said.
"We're all sick (with concern). . And we all say, 'What did we do? What did we miss?' ... And I think, given the (information) that I had, I would do the same thing—not having last Friday's information" about the sexually explicit instant messages.
He also said he didn't talk to other congressmen for advice.
"I'm 48 years old," Shimkus said. "I have three small boys. I've been an Army officer, I've been a schoolteacher, I'm in a position of responsibility, and I did my job."
He dismissed calls for him to step down from the page board as "ridiculous."
Didn't he find it odd Foley was so involved with the pages, dinners, dating and the like?
posted by Steve @ 12:40:00 AM