Instead, according to law enforcement officials and several former pages, a pattern is emerging of seduction by Foley that began when the boys were 16 and 17. In cases where actual sex followed, it was not until the boys were at the legal age of 18.
"He spotted me when I was a page and set the hook while I was still in high school," one former page told ABC News. "He didn't reel me in until he showed up at my college campus on a congressional visit. We had sex," said the page, who has been interviewed by the FBI.
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"As someone who wrote many of the laws, he presumably knew exactly what he could get away with," said one law enforcement official.
As the former co-chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, he helped enact laws that toughened penalties on Internet predators and resulted in more FBI agents assigned to Internet sex crimes.
Throughout the lurid instant messages Foley sent to current and former pages, there are repeated references to waiting until the young men are 18.
Teen: im not 18 till feb 23Maf54: i know.Maf54: nothing will happenMaf54: just dreamingMaf54: don't worryTeen: ya im still 17 till feb 23Maf54: see you feb 24th
Former prosecutors and FBI agents who have worked on similar cases say, depending on the prosecutor, the instant messages contain more than enough material to bring a charge of soliciting sex over the Internet.
"I know some that would have him arrested tomorrow, and there are others who would seek actual contact," said former FBI agent Brad Garrett, now an ABC News consultant.
FBI agents are seeking to interview every male congressional page during the 12 years Foley served in Washington, according to officials and pages who have been interviewed.
"Then we plan to start questioning the female pages," said one senior law enforcement official.