Florida Opens Criminal Probe in Mark Foley Scandal

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Florida authorities have opened a criminal investigation into whether former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley broke any laws with sexually explicit computer messages he sent to male teenage pages who worked on Capitol Hill.

A spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said yesterday that the investigation was a preliminary inquiry before but that officials found the basis to begin a criminal probe. The spokeswoman would not elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation.

The FBI is also investigating whether Foley broke any federal laws.

Foley resigned from Congress on September 29 after being confronted with the lurid communications. His attorney says Foley never had inappropriate sexual contact with any minors. He declined to comment on the criminal investigation.

Meanwhile, Foley has returned to Florida to attend his father's funeral after spending more than a month in an Arizona rehabilitation facility for alcoholism.

Foley's father died Tuesday after suffering for years from cancer.