Another House Page Sex Scandal
Posted by shadmia on December 12, 2007
Two teen-aged House pages were expelled for engaging in public oral sex, while two others were dismissed for shoplifting, one of whom was charged with a felony. These incidents have prompted two Republican House Page Board members to resign protesting that they were not informed of what was going on.
One of the members who resigned, Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida, said that she felt “very, very uncomfortable” both as a mother and a grandmother continuing to serve on a board she feels is inadequately supervised.
“I thought the Mark Foley incident was a wake-up call,” Brown-Waite said, referring to the disgraced former GOP congressman from Florida who was caught sending sexually tawdry instant messages to male House pages. “Apparently it wasn’t.” The congresswoman added, “If I had a 16-year-old granddaughter, I wouldn’t let her come up here. I would not let my 16-year-old grandson come up here.” (The congresswoman does have a 16-year-old grandson.)
In her letter of resignation to Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, Brown-Waite criticized the Clerk of the House, whose job it is to oversee the House page program.
“Page supervision, other than on the floor of the House, is found to be sorely lacking, and the clerk has been slow to share information with members of the board,” Brown-Waite wrote. “In at least one vitally important incident, we were intentionally kept in the dark about dismissals for more than a week, and were only given the details after personally confronting the clerk with rumors we had heard.”
Rep. Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who also resigned from the page board in protest, said they blamed Pelosi for not reforming the program as promised. Capito said the “problems with communication between board members that plagued the program in the past have only continued under new House leadership.”
Rep. Dale Kildee (D-Mich.), the chairman of the bipartisan House Page Board, weighed in. He expressed regret over the resignations of Reps. Capito and Brown-Waite from the board and suggested he agreed, at least in part, with the congresswomen that members of the board should have been notified sooner by the House clerk of the pages’ misconduct.
“Pages who were found in serious violation of the Page Code of Conduct this year were immediately expelled from the program and sent home,” Kildee said in a statement released by his office. “The Board was not satisfied with the manner and timeliness in which it was informed of these actions. Therefore, in our Page Board meeting of November 9, 2007, the Board unanimously agreed that the Clerk of the House should immediately and simultaneously inform all Members in cases where pages were dismissed from the program. Indeed, that was the case in the most recent incident.”
Lorraine C. Miller, the House clerk issued a statement acknowledging the resignations and welcomed the “constructive criticism” and “ideas for further improvement”. But she also strongly defended her oversight of the page program saying the dismissals of the four pages “are an example of our willingness to exercise our option of immediate dismissal from the program, an option that we will continue to exercise when appropriate and warranted.”
She says she has adopted a zero tolerance policy “when faced with rules violations or conduct that is ethically or legally suspect” and that:
“…..under the leadership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, we have implemented significant reform measures designed to restore and enhance the integrity, effectiveness and reputation of the House Page Program.”
“Those of us who are entrusted with the safety, security and wellbeing of our Pages take this responsibility with the utmost seriousness. Creating an environment in which our nation’s youth can be nurtured and developed to their full potential is an extremely rewarding practice and we will continue to develop our Page program to achieve these objectives.”
Congressional pages are high school juniors, usually around 17, who serve as errand runners for members of Congress. While working in Congress, they live in a dorm on Capitol Hill and attend school at the Library of Congress.
A page who observed the “oral sex” incident said a young female page gave a “blow job” to a young male page while other pages observed and encouraged the act. This happened in the page dorm with “enablers” providing cover for them. Apparently this had been going on for weeks before they were caught and expelled from the program. This was not an isolated incident, in fact the practice was so common that the pages even had a name for it – “Monica Cocktail” – referring to the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky affair. Other names included – “Being Monica’d” or “Lewinskied.” It of course means having oral sex in the halls of power in Washington and it has become a favorite pastime of teenage pages.
“We’re young and horny like most teenagers and we’re away from home,” one page admitted. “It’s not that hard to enjoy benefits with each other.”
“Benefits” is another teenage slang word for sexual activity. Recent studies of sexual behavior among teenagers claim that oral sex is commonplace among teens and even pre-teens and is considered more casual social interaction than romantic involvement. Some teenagers quote Bill Clinton as saying “oral sex is not really sex.”
“Oral sex is far less intimate than intercourse. It’s a different kind of relationship,” Claire Brindis, professor of pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco, told The Washington Post in 2005. “At 50 percent, we’re talking about a major social norm. It’s part of kids’ lives.”
Pages on Capitol Hill say their actions are no different than teenagers back home and they are only doing what teens nowadays consider natural.
“If I want to do somebody, I just do him,” one page says. “No big deal.”