Almost two years to the day disgraced former congressman Mark Foley resigned after ABC News questioned him about sexually explicit instant messages with former congressional pages, state officials announced Friday that he won't face criminal charges in Florida after they concluded a long investigation into his associations with teenaged boys.
Investigators determined there was "insufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges," according to an announcement released Friday afternoon by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Foley, who at the time was the chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, resigned Sept. 29, 2006, hours after ABC News questioned him about instant messages with former congressional pages, some of whom were under the age of 18 at the time of the exchanges.
The House of Representatives denied requests from FDLE "to review any computer equipment or emails that Foley used while in office," according to a summary of the state investigation, so investigators were unable to obtain original records of e-mails and instant messages. Foley also denied investigators access to his personal computers, according to the report.
"FDLE conducted as thorough and comprehensive investigation as possible considering Congress and Mr. Foley denied us access to critical data," said FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey in a statement released with the report. "Should additional information arise which is pertinent to this case, we will ensure it is appropriately investigated."
A call to Foley's lawyer was not immediately returned.
ABC News reported last year that Foley would possibly avoid criminal prosecution in Florida because of the state's three-year statute of limitations.
In the report released today, investigators said that even if evidence had been found, prosecution would not have been possible because of the statute.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement did not start a criminal investigation of Foley until November 2006, making it nearly impossible to prosecute what some officials regarded as the best case, an explicit instant message allegedly sent by Foley to a 17-year-old high school student in February 2003, when Foley was in Pensacola, Fla.
Yesterday, federal officials reportedly confirmed to the Associated Press that their investigation into Foley had also concluded and would not result in charges being brought against the former lawmaker.