Foley Priest Admits Inappropriate Relationship

Priest tells of Foley relationship

A Catholic priest told the Herald-Tribune on Wednesday about an intimate two-year relationship he had with former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley when the congressman was a teenage altar boy living in Lake Worth.

From his home on the island of Gozo, near Italy, Anthony Mercieca described a series of encounters that he said Foley might perceive as sexually inappropriate. Among them: massaging Foley while the boy was naked, skinny-dipping together at a secluded lake in Lake Worth and being naked in the same room on overnight trips.

One night, when Mercieca says he was in a drug-induced stupor, there was an incident he says he can’t clearly remember that might have gone too far. “I have to confess, I was going through a nervous breakdown,” he said. “I was taking pills — tranquilizers. I used to take them all the time. They affected my mind a little bit.”

I can see how Foley might have gotten the perception that this was sexually inappropriate….

Hat tip: Bill Jempty

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. blake jessup says:

    and this is supposed to mitigate foley’s culpability. what a mea culpa – “i’m sorry i’m an alcoholic, and i forgot to tell you i was a molested teanager.” when will the smoke and mirrors act stop?

  2. legion says:

    Bonus points for the priest taking the same “substance abuse” excuse as Foley. I guess molestation wasn’t the only he learned from the church…

  3. ranman says:

    I’m a small man, about five feet and seven inches tall. As a boy I was very short for my age, due to this I had to endure a lot of teasing and bullying from taller children, and sometimes adults. Would I be justified if I were to tease and bully small children now? Absolutely not! I made piece with the world and went about my business. I’m a Conservative/Christian/Republican, and I have no sympathy for Foley or anyone who tried to cover this up.