I understand that some people ó maybe most ó will view this as a contrived story designed to find some defense for defenseless behavior. That itís an excuse. In some ways I feel disgusting sharing this truth with you because in my heart I still struggle to see my five-year-old self as a victim. But Iím sharing this with you because it is the truth, not an excuse. And I believe it played a role in my story.
To my family, friends and Capitol Hill colleagues: Iíve had individual conversations with each of you in my mind. Iíve pictured your face as I admitted to my failure and heard the shock and disappointment in your voice. I lay awake at night reviewing these conversations over and over again. They are among the most excruciatingly painful aspects of this terrible, terrible nightmare.
To those who choose to sever all ties with me, I donít blame you. No one wants to think or talk about this subject matter. All I can say is: I understand and Iím sorry.
To those of you who have offered words of compassion to me and my family: your kindness has been remarkable. Compassion is harder to accept than condemnation when you feel as disgusting and horrible as I do, but it means a great deal. Iím more grateful to you than you can possibly imagine.
And last, to the children in the images: I should have known better. I perpetuated your abuse and that will be a burden on my soul for the rest of my life.Ē
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., walks on Broadway after a Future Forum with young entrepreneurs in the Flatiron District of New York City, April 16, 2015. Reps. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., Seth Moulton, D-Mass., and Grace Meng, D-N.Y., also attended.