Friday, June 10, 2011

Weiner says online contact with teen not indecent

Police in Delaware said Friday they interviewed a 17-year-old girl about online contact she'd had with embattled U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner but that she didn't disclose any information about illegal activity. Weiner, the 46-year-old congressman who has been under fire after admitting to sending graphic photos to women online, acknowledged Friday that he had online contact with the girl but said the communications were "neither explicit nor indecent." The New York Democrat issued his statement after reported Friday that officers had interviewed the high school junior at her family's home north of Wilmington. "They were made aware of an alleged contact between Congressman Anthony Weiner and an area teen," said Officer Tracey Duffy, a New Castle County police spokeswoman. "The teen has been interviewed and disclosed no information regarding any criminal activity." Duffy said the investigation was continuing. Weiner spokeswoman Risa Heller said in a one-sentence statement Friday night, "According to Congressman Weiner, his communications with this person were neither explicit nor indecent." reported that two officers visited the girl's home around 4:30 p.m. and that they were joined by another officer. The news web site reported that police left after about 30 minutes, and that the girl and her mother then departed in a separate car. reported that the girl, whom it declined to identify because she is a minor, said, "I'm doing OK." The news web site had a reporter outside the house when the police visit occurred. Late Friday night, no one answered when an Associated Press reporter called and knocked at the door of the teen's house even though lights were on and people were inside. The modest two-story house, in a neighborhood near the Pennsylvania border, had red, white and blue bows on the porch and two small American flags planted in the ground. Neighbor Ben Melvin said the media was paying way too much attention to the Weiner episode. "I don't think it's good for her and I don't think it's good for the nation," Melvin said. "It's a sideshow. It has nothing to do with his abilities as a representative. On the other hand it obviously shows some lack of judgment or something." A shirtless man approached reporters standing outside the family's house and began threatening them with an ax. New Castle County police responded and took the man into custody. Weiner, a seven-term Democrat, has acknowledged sending sexually explicit messages over the Internet to a half-dozen women over the past three years and then lying about it. Weiner is married to Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Abedin is pregnant with the couple's first child. Amid increasing calls for the 46-year-old Weiner to resign, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said earlier Friday in San Francisco that the decision should be up to the congressman and his constituents. Pelosi has asked the House Ethics Committee to investigate whether Weiner used any government resources. He has said he does not believe he did. Weiner told a newspaper Thursday he would not resign. At least nine House members and three senators said he should quit. U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, said Thursday he wished Weiner would resign "to get that story off the front page." He said the controversy distracts from pressing economic issues. Two former Democratic Party chairmen also said he should resign. Weiner did pick up support from U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, a New York Democrat who was censured by the House last year for ethics violations. Rangel suggested that other members of Congress had done things more immoral than Weiner. Rangel said Weiner "wasn't going with prostitutes. He wasn't going out with little boys." In a recent poll of registered voters in Weiner's district, 56 percent said he should stay in office while 33 percent said he should leave. Associated Press writer Sarah Brumfield contributed to this report from Baltimore.

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