Sorry, folks. The teen in question was 17 during some of the chats and 18 during others. Go read this ABC News reprint of a couple of the IMs. The kid says in black and white a little over halfway down the page that he hasn’t reached his 18th birthday yet and wouldn’t “till feb 23.” That would make him 17. Both ages happen to be above DC’s age of consent law, so legally it would seem to me that Foley won’t be charged unless new information emerges.

Yeah, there’s a pretty strong chance of new information emerging. But not necessarily new information that places him in legal jeopardy.

Moral jeopardy is another matter. He’s in that to stay.

So are quite a few other people. The Republican leadership, perhaps. The dust hasn’t quite settled on that yet, but you can see a scenario in which Speaker Hastert falls on his sword and the next few weeks see the GOP in the House erupting in civil war to replace him. Or not, if cooler heads prevail and a successor emerges quickly. Or we could see Hastert hang on and attract “what and when did he know” stories for five more weeks. Whatever he does, that list–you know what I’m talking about–hangs over the party like a Sword of Damocles. There may be only one name on it. Or a hundred. Not knowing is what makes it so dangerous. So it probably won’t be published, at least for a while.

Whoever was behind the StopSexPredators fauxblog and the Kos diary that brought the faux blog to attention has some explaining to do, since there’s a good chance that that person or group sat on the IMs, thus protecting a potential predator, in order to achieve maximum political effect. It’s obvious that the blog was part of the plan. Using dKos was a shrewd move. Posting within 12 minutes on one site and then the other? Not so shrewd.

But most of all, the moral jeopardy is Mark Foley’s. Let’s not lose sight of that.

We’re finding out an ugly truth right now. Terrorists may yet nuke Washington one of these days, but for the time being they don’t have to. The city is perfectly capable of destroying itself.

Update: And new information emerges.

House GOP leaders on Tuesday asked for an investigation into an allegation that former Rep. Mark Foley showed up drunk outside the House page dorm near the nation’s capitol, FOX News confirmed.