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What every parent wants to know: Why did Republican Leadership ignore a child's plea?

Location: Washington, DC

What every parent wants to know: Why did Republican Leadership ignore a child's plea?

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) made the following statement regarding Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert's handling of the Foley House Page scandal:

"Sadly, in calling only for a Department of Justice investigation regarding the sexually explicit content of emails and instant messages, Speaker Hastert fails to grasp that what is at issue here is that he and other members of the Republican leadership jeopardized the safety of not just the teen in question, but all of the teens in the House Page program.

In addition to who knew about the inappropriate electronic communications, the investigation should include a review as to why this matter was dropped after House Republican leaders simply accepted Congressman Foley's explanation at face value. What did they expect Rep. Foley to say; that he was soliciting minors? What parent would think that this type of communication with their child would be acceptable from a 52 year old man?

At this point, what we know is that the minor's complaint was known by at least five members: Reps. Alexander (LA), Boehner (OH), Hastert (IL), Shimkus (IL) and Reynolds (NY).

In Speaker Hastert's letter to Attorney General Gonzales and in his press conference today, he failed to answer the question on every American's mind: Why did the Republican Leadership fail to protect the children in their trust?

When a 16-year old has the courage to come forward to adults in a position of authority and report what he feels are inappropriate communications, then it is the obligation of those adults -in this case, Reps. Alexander (LA), Boehner (OH), Hastert (IL), Shimkus (IL) and Reynolds (NY)- to take action to protect the children in our care. This failed to happen.

I therefore call upon Attorney General Gonzales and President Bush to launch a comprehensive federal investigation. It should focus not only on the communications between Rep. Foley and current and former Pages, but also should include an investigation into why such a complaint, filed by a 16-year old minor, did not trigger a report to law enforcement, nor was it made public.

I believe that Speaker Hastert's exclusion of these items in his request for a federal investigation shows a desire to continue to cover up his and other Republican leaders' failure to protect these children in Congress' care."

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