Alexandria Police Department
Rep. Vito Fossella, R-N.Y., seen in this police mugshot, was arrested by Alexandria, Va. police on May 1 and charged with driving while intoxicated.
updated 5/8/2008 12:15:05 PM ET 2008-05-08T16:15:05

Rep. Vito Fossella of New York acknowledged on Thursday that he fathered a child from an extramarital affair, answering questions that arose from his arrest on drunken driving charges last week.

"My personal failings and imperfections have caused enormous pain to the people I love and I am truly sorry," said Fossella, a Republican, who has three children with his wife in Staten Island, N.Y.

Fossella's private life came under scrutiny after he was arrested last week in the Virginia suburbs of Washington. Police said his blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit, and he could face a mandatory five days in jail if convicted.

When Fossella was pulled over, police said he told officers that he was going to see his daughter in the area. That prompted questions about who the daughter was.

"I have had a relationship with Laura Fay, with whom I have a 3-year-old daughter," Fossella said in his statement. It was Fay who got him out of jail after the arrest.

Democrats look for gain
The disclosure clouds Fossella's political future. He faced a surprisingly tough re-election challenge in 2006, and Democrats were hoping to unseat him this year.

"While I understand that there will be many questions, including those about my political future, making any political decisions right now are furthest from my mind. Over the coming weeks and months, I will continue to do my job and I will work hard to heal the deep wounds I have caused," he said.

Fossella was elected to Congress in 1997 in a special election to replace Rep. Susan Molinari, who resigned. A graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, he also earned a law degree from Fordham University.

Fossella, 43, serves as a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

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