"Today I have delivered a letter to the Speaker of the House informing him of my decision to resign from the U.S. House of Representatives, effective today," Foley said in a statement. "I thank the people of Florida's 16th Congressional District for giving me the opportunity to serve them for the last twelve years; it has been an honor.
"I am deeply sorry and I apologize for letting down my family and the people of Florida I have had the privilege to represent."
The Palm Beach (Fla.) Post reported the year-old e-mail messages, which were reported to congressional officials in August 2005, surfaced Sunday on a blog site devoted to exposing sexual predators. In the e-mail, Foley asked the youth for a picture, his age and several other questions. The Post said he also described another youth as "such a nice guy ... acts much older than his age ... and he's in really great shape."
The Sarasota Herald reported the page was 16 at the time and did not live in Foley's district. He had worked for Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La. Spokesmen for the Foley re-election campaign characterized the release of the e-mail as a political attack designed to smear him just six weeks before the general election. But Foley's Democratic challenger, Tim Mahoney, said he was not behind the release.
ABC revealed the e-mail messages Thursday.
Foley was first elected to Congress in 1994 and represents an area stretching from West Palm Beach to Charlotte Harbor.