Breaking: Mark Foley (R-FL) to quit House over child-sex rumors; Update: IMs revealed

I almost posted on this yesterday but didn’t want to float something when it was still unsubstantiated. The original report quoted a 16-year-old Congressional page as being “freaked out” when Foley chatted him up over e-mail and requested a photo. Sounded reasonably innocuous to me.

It’s sounding a little less innocuous now:

A spokesman for Foley, the chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, said the congressman submitted his resignation in a letter late this afternoon to Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.

Hours earlier, ABC News had read excerpts of instant messages provided by former pages who said the congressman, under the AOL Instant Messenger screen name Maf54, made repeated references to sexual organs and acts.

That’s another pickup for the Dems in the House. Can’t say I’m sorry about this one.

Update: Among Foley’s signature legislative accomplishments:

Mark also has worked closely with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and John Walsh (host of Fox TV’s America’s Most Wanted) on a variety of child protection programs. Among the latest of these is a program designed to show children how to protect themselves from online predators.

Update: ABC has published some of the instant messages allegedly sent by Foley to former Congressional pages. They are … not innocuous.

Update: Oy. Apparently under Florida law his name has to stay on the ballot.