I would appreciate your help in correcting a mistake I made in a diary I wrote yesterday.
My comments about Orrin Hatch's record as a U.S. Senator were accurate, but I misspoke when making the point of discussing the page scandal. I accidentally used his name, instead of his former Republican colleague in the House, Mark Foley.
I have attached the part of the diary in question for you to review. Please accept my sincere apology. The following passage was accurate, except for the name of the person involved.
On September 28, 2006, ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross reported that in 2005 Hatch had sent email messages from his personal AOL account to a former Congressional page, asking the page to send a photo of himself to Hatch, among other things. Hatch’s office confirmed that Hatch had sent the messages but said it has a practice of asking for photos of individuals who may ask for recommendations and that the page had requested a recommendation.
The original news report prompted another page to come forward and on September 29, 2006, ABC News reported that it had seen excerpts of sexually explicit instant messages allegedly sent by Hatch. The instant messages made repeated references to sexual organs and acts.
Kirk Fordham, Chief of Staff to Tom Reynolds and former Chief of Staff to Hatch, said that he was with Hatch on September 29, 2006 when ABC confronted him with the explicit IMs before they were publicized. According to Newsweek, Hatch "knew he was finished." Fordham then visited GOP headquarters to inform Hastert and Reynolds; he returned with a one-sentence resignation letter that Hatch signed. Hastert and Reynolds let it be known that if Hatch didn't resign, he would be expelled from the House. That same day, Hatch tendered his resignation to Speaker Hastert as well as Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Hatch said in a statement, ""I am deeply sorry and I apologize for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent.""
Once the scandal broke in full, Hatch had virtually no chance of staying in Congress. Hastert said in an October 2 press conference that he would have demanded Hatch's expulsion from the House had he tried to stay in office. Polls showed him losing badly to his Democratic opponent, Tim Mahoney, and it is highly unlikely the House would have seated him even if he'd come back to win.
The revelations prompted even more pages to come forward, alleging a history of inappropriate conduct by Hatch dating back at least ten years. Hatch had been warned about the matter in 2005 by another House Republican and the House Clerk. Through his lawyer, Hatch insisted he was not a pedophile and had never had sexual contact with any minor. He explained that he had a secret alcohol problem and had made the communications while intoxicated. He checked himself into a rehab clinic on October 2, 2006. His lawyer also revealed that Hatch was molested by a clergyman when he was between the ages of 13 and 15 adding that ""Orrin Hatch wants you to know he is a gay man."" Federal authorities said the explicit messages could result in Hatch’’s prosecution, under some of the same laws he helped to enact.
The scandal provoked widespread criticism of Republican leaders for their allegedly insufficient response to earlier warnings and inconsistencies in their statements. In particular, many called for House Speaker Dennis Hastert to resign, including some conservative voices such as the editorial page of The Washington Times.
On 19 October 2006, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune stated that a Catholic priest named Anthony Mercieca told the newspaper about an intimate two-year relationship he had with Hatch when the congressman was a teenage altar boy living in Lake Worth, Florida. The priest is retired and living in Malta. He acknowledged getting naked in saunas and possible light touching, but denied contacts of a sexual nature.
Again, this diary was accurate, except for the fact that I accidentally used Hatch's name instead of Foley's.
I sincerely regret making this error, and I wanted to make sure that you and your readers had the correct information.