I’ll admit, I’m getting a little tired of hearing about Mark Foley, sexual explicit instant messages, and who-knew-what-when. Its plain now that Dennis Hastert knew his friend and fellow Republican Mark Foley was trying to arrange to have liaisons with young boys and he did nothing about it. This entire maelstrom has made me curious about other scandals from the past. Foley-gate is not the first congressional sex scandal and I bet it won’t be the last either.
On July 14, 1983 the House Ethics Committee concluded that Rep. Dan Crane (R-Ill.) had engaged in sexual relationships with a 17 year old female page. Crane pleaded guilty to ethics charges and the committee decided to reprimand him. This wasn’t enough for some House member and on July 20, 1983, the House voted for censure, the first time that censure had been imposed for sexual misconduct. Crane, who subsequently apologized for his transgression, lost his bid for reelection in 1984.
At the time, Congressman Daniel Crane, 47, in a brief written apology, said, “I’m sorry that I made a mistake. I’m human, and in no way did I violate my oath of office. I only hope my wife and children will forgive me.” He and a female House page, then 17, had sex four or five times at his suburban apartment. The page, testifying that she “found the Congressman as an older man very attractive,” admitted that she was “perhaps more responsible for the sexual relationship than he was.”
After the scandal broke, Crane said he would not resign. His press secretary, William Mencarow, suggested the entire matter was no big deal. “If we required the resignation of all Congressmen who slept with young ladies,” he said, “we wouldn’t have a Congress.” He later apologized for the observation.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.