Sex among young Congressional pages has become so rampant that two youngsters were recently sent home for engaging in oral sex in front of, and with encouragement from, other pages.
Lax oversight of the underage charges who serve as “gofers” on Capitol Hill has led to resignations by two members of the Congressional board that oversees the program and claims that pages are routinely engage in sex acts with each other and committing crimes.
So far, four pages have been sent home for “inappropriate sexual conduct” and shoplifting but sources on Capitol Hill says the system is out of control and some concerned parents have dubbed the system “kids gone wild.”
Congressional pages are high school juniors, usually 17, who serve as errand runners for members of Congress. While working in Congress, they live in a dorm on Capitol Hill and attend school at the Library of Congress.
CNN reported Friday that two pages were dismissed after they engaged in oral sex in a public area of the Congressional Page dorm on Capitol Hill.
A page who observed the incident tells Capitol Hill Blue that a young female page gave a “blow job” to a young male page while other pages observed and encouraged the act. Other pages compete to see who can have sex in the most dangerous public places. Some pages claim they have engaged in sexual activity in the House Chamber and in rooms of the U.S. Capitol.
“Shoplifting Clubs” have also emerged in the Page System with scores tallied by the quantity and value of items stolen from Washington-area stores.
Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, a member of the board that oversees the page system, resigned and, in her resignation letter, said parents have called the system “kids gone wild.”
“This year has already seen four pages dismissed from the program; dismissals for serious criminal acts and for inappropriate sexual indiscretions between the students,” Brown-Waite said in her letter.
A second member of the board, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, also resigned, saying information of the growing page scandal was withheld from members of Congress by the Clerk of the House, Lorraine Miller.
“Members of this board cannot productively tackle problems that may occur with our pages when questionable incidents are held from members of the Page Board. There have been numerous occurrences this year in which board members have not received timely information, and it is my belief that to move forward we must start fresh with a truly open dialogue,” Caputo said in a prepared statement released Friday.
Capito and Brown-Waite, both Republicans, blame the Democratic leadership of the House for what they say is a failure to learn from the Mark Foley scandal of 2006.
Foley, a Florida Republican, resigned in disgrace after revelations of several incidents of inappropriate behavior with male pages. Foley later claimed he was molested as a child by a Catholic priest. Evidence showed Republican leaders of Congress knew of Foley’s problems and looked the other way. The scandal was considered a contributing factor to the GOP loss of control of Congress in the 2006 midterm election.
At the time, then-Speaker Dennis Hastert promised an overhaul of the Page system and new oversight and control but both Capito and Brown-Waite say nothing has really changed.
“Apparently Democrats didn’t learn from the Mark Foley incident that pages need better supervision,” Brown-Waite told CNN. “Apparently they haven’t learned anything. Nancy Pelosi is a mother and a grandmother. She should be embarrassed.”
Democratic Speaker Pelosi defended the Clerk’s action, saying dismissal of the pages shows a “zero tolerance” toward misbehavior.
In a statement released by her office, Pelosi said:
“The House Page Board must undertake an immediate and thorough review of the adequacy of the supervision and security at the page dorm. As a mother and a grandmother, nothing is more important to me than the safety and security of our House pages.”
But sources within the page system say the problem goes far beyond the four pages sent home for misconduct.
Sex scandals involving pages is nothing new on Capitol Hill but past blowups have involved Members of Congress. Besides Foley, two House Members were censured in 1983 for admitting sex with 17-year-old pages. Rep. Daniel Crane, a Republican from Illinois, apologized to his colleagues for having sex with a young female page and lost his bid for re-election in 1984. Rep. Gerry Studds, a Democrat from Massachusetts, defiantly told the House Chamber that he considered his sexual acts with a young male page to be “nobody’s business” and won several re-elections before retiring from Congress in 1997.