A Florida newspaper has interviewed a Catholic priest who acknowledged having an intimate, two-year relationship 40 years ago with a youthful Mark Foley, the former U.S. Congressman who resigned last month after being accused of inappropriate sexual conduct with Congressional pages.
Rev. Anthony Mercieca told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that he befriended Foley when he was assigned to Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Lake Worth, Fla. Foley was an altar boy in the parish.
Mercieca told the newspaper that he took overnight trips with Foley, skinny-dipped and sat naked in a sauna with him and massaged Foley while the youth was undressed, the article says.
It doesn't excuse Foley for what he did, but it does provide a window of understanding into the sad cycle of sexual abuse.