'Beau of the Ball'; Foley Shrugs Off Sex Scandal

Called the "Beau of the Ball," former Congressman Mark Foley has re-emerged in Palm Beach society at a charity gala, his transgressions with former teenage pages and sexually explicit messages apparently forgotten and forgiven.

"Believe me. People were thrilled to see him," said socialite Dorothy Sullivan, who co-chaired the Palm Beach Fashion Week charity gala last month at the famed Mar-a-Lago Club, where Foley was photographed surrounded by women. "He was glad he came," she told ABC News.com.

"It feels good. People have been wonderful to me," Foley told the Palm Beach Post, which dubbed him the "Beau of the Ball." "Thank God that I worked hard for these people. I think they recognize I did so much for the community, and I'm thankful for that."

The former Republican lawmaker has also been spotted at some of Palm Beach's posh restaurants and has been working out at a local gym.

"Everybody loves Mark. He's fine now," Sullivan says.

In the year and a half since his resignation on Sept. 29, 2006, Foley tried his best to avoid the spotlight. ABC News last caught up with him cycling around Palm Beach in March 2007, donning full bike gear.

Meanwhile, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) continues to pursue its criminal investigation of Foley despite repeated unsuccessful attempts -- including a direct appeal to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- to gain access to his House computers.

Federal officials turned the case over to Florida after concluding that Foley did not engage in any actual sexual contact until the former pages had turned 18, and had therefore not violated federal law. Washington, D.C. law defines the age of consent as 16.

Under Florida law, it is a third-degree felony both to use the Internet "to seduce, solicit, lure or entice" a minor "to commit any illegal act...relating to lewdness and indecent exposure" and to transmit any "information or data that is harmful to minors...via electronic mail," which includes instant messages.

Foley resigned Sept. 29, 2006, hours after ABC News questioned him about sexually explicit messages with former congressional pages, some of whom were under the age of 18 at the time of the exchanges.

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