Sen. Larry Craig May Be in Denial, Psychologists Say

Despite police reports, Idaho senator says he's not gay and never has been.

ByABC News
August 29, 2007, 4:16 PM

Aug. 29, 2007 — -- Idaho Sen. Larry Craig says that he's not gay and never has been, but psychologists told ABC News that he's likely in denial about his sexuality.

After reports of Craig's arrest for alleged lewd contact in a men's bathroom at a Minneapolis airport surfaced Tuesday, the Republican senator took the stage to defend himself publicly.

"I did nothing wrong at the Minneapolis airport," said Craig. "Let me be clear. I'm not gay and never have been."

The police report said that Craig had tapped his foot in the bathroom stall and rubbed his foot against the officer's, actions known by authorities as signals for soliciting sex. Court documents show that Craig pleaded guilty to engaging in "physical" conduct that tended "to arouse alarm."

Even so, Craig apologized not for the "lewd conduct," but instead for pleading guilty in the first place. The senator blamed a local newspaper's "relentless" reporting for his "mistake" in pleading guilty.

"In pleading guilty, I overreacted in Minneapolis, because of the stress of the [newspaper] Idaho Statesman's investigation and the rumors it has fueled around Idaho," said Craig.

But like many political commentators, psychologists who listened to Craig's speech aren't buying his story.

"He must have had some internal conflict, even if he never acted out sexually," said Dorrie Lynn, a psychologist in the Washington D.C. area. "If [the allegations] aren't true, he would have just looked at the reporters and said 'don't be silly' and 'leave me alone,' but instead he did admit it and now he's saying he didn't really do it and someone made him do it."

Craig's denial, Lynn said, would be typical of someone who is hiding something and, in the senator's case, is desperate to salvage his career.

"This would be the normal reaction of someone who is emotionally immature, like a teenage boy who has gotten his hand caught in the cookie jar and then says 'no it's not me,'" said Lynn. "It would also be a reaction in a society where one feels so much shame and guilt that they think their sexual orientation would destroy them and be unacceptable."