Today, Republican leaders said they had no idea how bad it was until ABC News revealed some of Foley's X-rated messages to the underage boys.
"No one in the Republican leadership, nor Congressman Shimkus, saw those messages until last Friday when ABC News released them to the public," said Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL).
THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS
But there were lots of warning signs.
In 2001, pages were warned to be careful with Foley.
In 2005, one page complained to his congressman about "sick" e-mails from Foley, a complaint passed on to the Speaker's staff.
Then this past spring, the complaint was again raised with three Republican leaders, including Hastert himself.
Foley wrote his lurid messages at the same time he presented himself as a champion of young people and the pages.
In this tearful speech, Foley thanked the page class of 2002.
"Cherish your youth, cherish this experience, but above all cherish your families. Let them know how much you appreciate them giving you this chance. And let them know how much you appreciate their love to make you the people you are," Foley said on the floor of the House.
Some of the same pages in the chamber that day would months later receive Foley's sexually explicit messages.
"I have known him for all the years he has served in this House, and he deceived me too," Speaker Hastert said.
The FBI's preliminary investigation is focusing on evidence that Foley, using the screen name Maf54, actually sought to meet with the pages in order to solicit sex.
In one message, he wrote: I would drive a few miles for a hot stud like you.
And then: I miss you lots since san diego.
And: I want to see you.
"So as the FBI is looking for steps taken, they're really looking for evidence that it's more than just words, and it's an intended action that will be criminal," Parry Fatab, Executive Director of Wired Safety, said.
A former senior Republican official in Congress says Foley was one of a handful of members and staff whose behavior with pages was being closely watched.
But so far Foley is the only member whose overt sexual approaches have been documented.