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Ex-page says Foley messaged him in 1990s

AP | October 5 2006

ATLANTA - An Atlanta man told a local television station and newspaper that former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley (news, bio, voting record) sent him sexually suggestive messages after he served as a congressional page 10 years ago.

Tyson Vivyan, 26, of Buckhead told WAGA-TV in a Wednesday interview that Foley began sending him instant messages about a month or two after his nine-month stint as a page ended in June 1997

Vivyan told the station that when he was a congressional page in 1996 and 1997 he barely spoke to Foley. But after he left the program — when he was 17 years old — Vivian says they had contact via e-mail about things he says where inappropriate.

"He somehow got ahold of my online identity on AOL and began sending me sexually illicit ims," Vivyan said in the TV interview.

Vivyan said he became upset when he learned that the messages were from Foley.

"The fact that here is a member of Congress soliciting some type of a sexual relationship from a minor," he said.

"The conversations he started were almost sexual in nature," Vivyan said in a separate interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I would try to steer it to things he was doing on (Capitol) Hill."

Vivyan is not listed in Atlanta telephone records, and efforts to reach him Thursday morning by The Associated Press were not immediately successful.

Vivyan said he was interviewed this week by the FBI. FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett in Atlanta declined comment Thursday on Vivyan's statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constituion that he had been interviewed by an agent in Atlanta. Emmett referred further questions to FBI headquarters in Washington.

Foley's attorney, David Roth, declined to comment Thursday on the allegations from the former page.

Vivyan told WAGA he received messages from someone with the screen name "Maf54", which has been widely reported as belonging to Foley.

Vivyan said the contact continued for years. He said he never felt threatened.

"Absolutely not. No, to me, it was simply a very lonely, very sick, very desperate man seeking attention from someone he apparently found attractive," he told the television station.

Vivyan said he kept the matter to himself, "because I was under the impression at least initially that it was an isolated incident."

Now that Foley's contact with other pages has blown into a scandal, Vivyan told the TV station he should have broken his silence earlier.

"I'm very disappointed in myself for not having the courage to do it back in 96-97. I was hoping and praying it was an isolated incident — myself, maybe one or two others. Now it seems this has been progressive manipulative and wide-ranging abuse of adult authority on mark's part and it's affected more people than I ever hoped it would."

"I consider myself a victim but I don't consider myself traumatized. The behavior that he perpetrated was wrong," he said in the interview.

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