Congresswoman Asks Sergeant at Arms if Teen Senate Pages Will be Protected from Roy Moore
WASHINGTON -- A Wisconsin congresswoman argued to Senate Sergeant at Arms Frank J. Larkin in a letter today that Senate pages may be in danger if Roy Moore is elected to the upper chamber tomorrow.
Senate pages, who run messages, carry bills, prep the chamber for the daily session, etc., are high school juniors at least 16 years old who are appointed and sponsored by a senator. All 50 states are represented in the page program.
Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) said she has "urgent concern regarding the threat to the safety of the young men and women working in the United States Senate Page Program if Roy Moore becomes the U.S. Senator to Alabama."
Nine women have accused Roy Moore of inappropriate sexual conduct or of trying to pursue a relationship when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. One woman who was 14 years old at the time says Moore, who was a prosecutor at the time, took her to his home, undressed her, touched her sexually and tried to get her to touch him. The Senate candidate has denied the accusations.
Rep. Moore noted that her home state has one page serving the Senate this year, and the program "can be an exciting and enriching experience for these students as it provides them unique insight into our legislative process."
"However, being away from home also puts these young people in a very vulnerable position," she added. "They are away from family and their normal support structures. They are thrust into an adult world and an unfamiliar city. The nature of life on Capitol Hill necessitates long hours in close proximity to lawmakers and staff that can create power dynamics of which young people are not fully aware."
"It would be unconscionable for Congress to not be vigilant and proactive in taking precautions to safeguard these children given the well sourced allegations against Roy Moore."
The congresswoman argued in her letter to the sergeant at arms that her "fears are well founded" as "we have seen members of Congress abuse the Congressional Page Program."
"You will recall that in 2006, former Republican Representative Mark Foley resigned after sending suggestive emails and text messages to male Pages. Unfortunately, this was a contributing factor in the then elimination of the House Page Program. We need to be vigilant stewards of these children going forward," Moore wrote.
"In order to meet our obligation, I urge you to be proactive in protecting Senate Pages and that is why I am asking if you are taking steps to prepare the Page Program for the possible election of Roy Moore," she continued. "I would like to know what preventative steps are being undertaken to safeguard Senate Pages from predatory conduct of U.S. Senators and Senate staff. The U.S. Congress has an obligation to keep these students safe especially in light of known potential harm."