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National Clergy Council on Foley's Abuse of Page

Calls for Greater Protection for Vulnerable Pages

Contact: Dane Rose, National Clergy Council, 202-546-8329 ext. 106, 703-447-1072 cell

WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 /Christian Newswire/ -- President of The National Clergy Council in Washington, DC, the Reverend Rob Schenck (pronounced SHANK), released this statement today on behalf of the Council's executive committee, on the investigation of Rep. Mark Foley's apparent inappropriate interests in congressional pages:

"What must first be determined about this sad episode is how many young people were harmed, how deep are their injuries and what must be done to help heal them. The effects of sexual abuse, whether physical or psychological, are devastating to the victims and often life-long. There is no justification whatever that would excuse a person in power  preying on vulnerable young people. Any indication whatever that such behavior by members of congress is occurring should trigger the loudest alarms and swiftest possible action to protect young people and stop the perpetrators.

"There is need for an independent investigation to determine exactly who knew what when and hold the appropriate parties accountable. More importantly, there must be far more effective and independent oversight of the page program, as well as supervision and protection of the individual pages.

"This most recent episode of abuse calls for the strongest condemnation, the most severe of penalties and the most effective action possible to protect the young people placed in the charge of our nation's top elected officials. There have already been too many of these incidents on both sides of the aisle. The real losers are the kids whose trust, ideals and innocence are stolen from them, leaving them emotionally scarred, jaded and cynical.

"As church leaders, we call for the highest level of response, immediate care for the victims, the protection of all congressional pages and confession, repentance and renunciation by any who have committed or contemplated similar moral violations against young people."