(05/08/08) WASHINGTON - Rep. Vito Fossella admitted Thursday that he fathered an out-of-wedlock child - the latest fallout from his drunken-driving arrest last week that has been a major political embarrassment for the Republican lawmaker. "My personal failings and imperfections have caused enormous pain to the people I love and I am truly sorry," said Fossella, who has three children with his wife in Staten Island. Fossella's private life came under scrutiny after he was arrested for drunken driving last week in suburban Washington. 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. The woman who got him out of jail, Laura Fay, is the mother of the child. "I have had a relationship with Laura Fay, with whom I have a 3-year-old daughter," Fossella said in a statement. The arrest prompted questions about whether the daughter he told police he was going to see was his child with another woman.

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 to 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.

StatementGiven by Fossella

Fossella apologizes for DWI arrest