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Report: Kolbe Now Under Investigation For Relations With Pages


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Report: Kolbe Now Under Investigation For Relations With Pages

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

October 13, 2006 - 5:00 pm ET

(Washington) The Justice Department has opened a preliminary investigation into a camping trip Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) - the only gay Republican in Congress - took that included two teenage pages a decade ago, NBC news reported on Friday.

A spokesperson for the Justice Department in Washington said that the U.S. attorney in Arizona has started a "preliminary assessment" of the trip, after an unidentified source made allegations about the congressman's behavior on the expedition.

"The U.S. attorney is looking into allegations about the congressman taking a trip with the two pages," the spokesperson told NBC.

The trip was made before Kolbe came out publicly.

NBC said that the camping trip down the Grand Canyon in July 1996 was made with a group that included two 17-year-old males who had recently left the congressional page program.

National Park Service employees also were on the three-day trip, along with several Kolbe staffers and the congressman's sister the network said.

Kolbe's office issued a statement to NBC News denying that anything improper had happened.

"The rafting trip back in 1996 consisted of five current staff, two former pages, and his sister," a spokeswoman for Kolbe said. "There is absolutely no basis and no truth to any [allegations of] inappropriate behavior," NBC quoted the statement as saying.

The FBI declined to comment on whether it was heading up the probe for the Justice Department.

The network said that one person on the trip, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he was "creeped out" Kolbe's "fawning, petting and touching" the arms and shoulders of one teen.

NBC said it had contacted both former pages, now in their late 20s. One declined to comment, the other said that Kolbe was a "gentleman" and never acted in an improper fashion.

Gary Cummins, the deputy superintendent of the Grand Canyon National Park at the time — and who also was on the trip — told the network that he did not see anything inappropriate take place.

The report comes as the House Ethics Committee investigates the handing of former Rep. Mark's Foley (R-Fla) over sexual emails with former pages.

On Monday Kolbe said he confronted the Florida Republican as early as 2000 about "inappropriate" emails to congressional pages. (story)

©365Gay.com 2006


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