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By AMIE PARNES
Former Rep. Mark Foley’s flirting with boys was so obvious to congressional pages that they joked about it among themselves as far back as 2000, according to one former page.
"It was kind of known that he flirted with some of the male pages," Jason Davis, who served as a page in 2000, told Scripps Howard News Service Thursday. "We joked about it, but it was always on a low key."
Davis, 22, a recent West Point graduate, said Foley was an "extremely nice man" who was never light on flattery, often complimenting pages on their appearances. The former page said he used to kid one of his fellow classmates in particular.
"We used to tell him that Mark Foley was hitting on him," Davis said.
Other lawmakers were not as friendly, he said. "They talked to you as people who were adults or they talked to you like you were a kid," said Davis, who now lives in Fort Benning, Ga. "Or they didn’t talk to you at all."
Four former congressional pages brought forward lurid accounts of their dealings with Foley Thursday, less than a week after the Florida Republican resigned after 12 years in Congress.
Three pages _ who served in the classes of 1998, 2000 and 2002 _ recounted Foley’s "sexual approaches" over the Internet, ABC News reported.
"I was 17 years old and just returned to (my home state) when Foley began to e-mail me, asking if I had ever seen my page roommates naked …," said one 2002 page, who did not want to be identified.
The former page said Foley had invited him to stay at his home near Capitol Hill if he "would engage in oral sex" with the congressman.
That page said he had already been interviewed by the FBI.
Another former page revealed that Foley had visited the page dorms and asked pages if he could give them rides to events in his BMW.
The page, part of the 2000 class, said Foley kept in touch with him with a steady stream of e-mails. "His e-mails developed into sexually explicit conversations …," the page said.
A third page, who was part of the 1998 class, said he began receiving instant messages from Foley when he was still a senior in high school.
"Foley would say he was sitting in his boxers and ask what I was wearing," the page said. "It became more weird, and I stopped responding."
"He didn’t want to talk about politics," the page added.
In Atlanta, Tyson Vivyan, 26, told the Associated Press that Foley sent him sexually suggestive messages a month or two after he left the page program in 1997.
"It was almost surreal," Vivyan said. "Not only was I conversing with a congressman in a personal manner, I was conversing in a sexual manner."
Vivyan said Foley had invited him to his brownstone in Washington but he didn’t want to go alone so he brought another congressional page.
"You don’t go swimming in a lake by yourself, you always take a buddy" he said.
Brian Dugan of Scripps Howard Foundation Wire contributed to this report.
(Contact Amie Parnes at ParnesA(at)shns.com)