10/04/2006 04:40 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Foley Fallout: On Red Flags and Immediate Resignations

Like many of you, I've been watching the disturbing news reports about the circumstances surrounding the resignation of Congressman Mark Foley. It's horrifying enough if these interactions occurred, but if allegations of a cover up by the Republican Leadership are true, it's unconscionable. Their first obligation should have been to protect these young people who come to Congress to work hard and learn the legislative process. We changed the page program rules 20 years ago, to include safer dormitories and a buddy system, to protect pages from situations like this. But these efforts mean nothing if the adults in charge look the other way when something very wrong is occurring.

There is absolutely no excuse for allowing something like this to go on, especially if they had even a hint of a problem months ago. If there was any sign of wrongdoing, a red flag should have gone up, and a thorough investigation should have begun immediately.

It is imperative that we hold people accountable for failing these young people. They are children who have been entrusted to the care of Congress. If the Congressional Leadership had knowledge of these disgusting and appalling emails and did nothing to stop it and to protect all of these kids, they must resign immediately.

The Ethics Committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday and hopefully we'll get a prompt investigation of this situation. We need to know if other pages were put in jeopardy because the Leadership didn't act sooner.