Sexual scandals are nothing new to the nation’s capital. But when the potential victim is a minor and the predator is a Congressman, the episode takes on a particularly sinister cast.
Former Rep. Mark Foley has resigned in disgrace after his sexually suggestive e-mails to high school pages emerged from the privacy of inboxes and appeared for all the world to see. He is now doing the typical “public servant damage control routine” by checking himself into rehab.
I hope he gets help for whatever addictions lurk inside him. But, more importantly, I want to see him brought to swift justice.
Too many times, individuals who have achieved a level of prestige and respectability in their professional lives are treated with kid gloves when it comes to corrupting our children. There are the pedophile clerics who were transferred to new assignments rather than to cells in the local jail…the pretty teachers who breathlessly tell newscasters about their new lives after having sex with students…the erudite professors who have repeatedly victimized unsuspecting students.
Certainly, these predators have deep-seated problems. They may need psychiatric help. But the first order of business should be to make sure that they cannot victimize anyone else.
All too often, we hear the standard apologies from the predators’ bosses…how they didn’t know what was going on…how the employee was well-liked. We hear all sorts of explanations…endless analyses of the criminal behavior of a respected professional…mind-numbing explorations of the victimizer’s childhood woes. And yet, we hear little about the victims of these crimes. What toll the abuse took on their lives. What emotional torment they went through as a result of being taken advantage of by someone they trusted—and someone their parents might have admired. The scars of sexual abuse can last a lifetime—and the scars are not only borne by the children, but by the parents and other caregivers who must minister to their pain.
A recent national survey showed that 90 percent of the American people believe in God—and most of them describe themselves as Christian. Therefore, they should be familiar with the Biblical passage that talks about it being better for a man to have a stone tied around his neck and thrown into a lake than to make a child stumble.
Too many of our children are stumbling nowadays, falling into the traps laid for them by the pornography industry, the international abortion business, drug cartels, and an anything-goes media empire. Childhood innocence is lost through explicit sex education programs which frown on parental involvement…and television shows which engage in trash talk to elicit a few cheap laughs.
When our own public servants—those who are paid with our tax dollars—try to solicit sex from high school students, it’s time to seek action. Swift action. Action which will protect children from future harm and will ensure that the predator will never be permitted to abuse his or her position of authority again.
Yet, there is also the danger that the Foley scandal will be used by some to gain a political advantage. Democratic leaders have been quite vocal in condemning Republicans, claiming that they covered up Foley’s crime in order to improve their own re-election hopes.
If the Republicans are smart, they’ll deal with the Foley affair quickly and honorably. They won’t claim that the episode is “just about sex,” as so many Democratic apologists claimed when former President Bill Clinton had a dalliance with one of his subordinates.
Let’s hope that justice is served—and the parents of future pages can rest easy, knowing their sons and daughters are safe from predators in the halls of Congress.