This Foley scandal is really bothering me. The thing that keeps coming up for me is two things:
1) That Foley used his position to gain access to the private lives of these 16 and 17 year olds, because many of them were hoping to return to Washington and needed friends in high places. In the Washington Post today, there is even a quote from one of the instant messages that Foley sent where he offered to help one of the congressional pages achieve success in Washington if the page would allow Foley to continue to do certain things (it was *bleeped* out in the WaPo article). So he is using his position to get what he wants from these kids, many of whom already felt uncomfortable with him, but perhaps they knew that they could not say no to someone in such a high position.
2) That being gay is somehow an explanation of why Foley went after these minors. (Somebody made a point on the Lopate show today on NPR that in Washington the age of consent is 16, not 18 as in many other places.) Even in the midst of the scandal, the Republicans have been able to turn this around, saying that his gayness was very much connected to his bad behavior. Some idiot on NPR yesterday said that "gays are preoccupied with sex in comparison to heterosexual," thus explaining Foley's preoccupation with these boys (I'm paraphrasing). Foley brings himself down, but brings the gays along with him.
2a) and then a sidenote. What if he had been instant messaging these lude messages to 16 or 17 year old girls? Would there be a big problem? I really don't think so.