Oregon Congressman Accused Of “Unwanted Sexual Encounter” With Teenager

Oregon Democratic Congressman David Wu is at the center of another bizarre story:

Rep. David Wu has been accused of an “unwanted sexual encounter” with the teenage daughter of a longtime friend, the latest scandal to engulf the troubled Oregon Democrat.

The Oregonian reported that the 56-year-old Wu “acknowledged a sexual encounter to his senior aides but insisted it was consensual,” according to sources aware of the incident.

The unidentified teenager and her family did not file any criminal complaint over the incident, which apparently took place sometime around last Thanksgiving.

Calling the episode “very serious,” Wu did not specifically address allegations that he made unwanted sexual advances toward the young woman who is the daughter of a donor.

“This is very serious, and I have absolutely no desire to bring unwanted publicity, attention or stress to a young woman and her family,” Wu said.

The Oregonian reported the person involved graduated from high school in 2010 but did not mention her age. She and her family declined to speak to the newspaper.

Wu, who is being treated for an unspecified mental health condition, is separated from his wife Michelle and the couple reportedly is seeking a divorce. They have two children.

When we last heard about Congressman Wu, it was being reported that a number of his staffers had become concerned about his mental stability during the 2010 elections. Wu later acknowledged that he had been suffering from unspecified stress and enter treatment, but it appears that last fall’s incident wasn’t the first sign of trouble:

This episode is the latest in a long list of troubling incidents for Wu, including a previous allegation of sexual assault lodged against him by a former girlfriend when they were both attending Stanford University in 1976. Wu was not charged with a crime, but he was made to see a counselor and was disciplined by the university.

This incident was reported by The Oregonian shortly before the 2004 elections. Wu admitted to “inexcusable behavior on my part” when confronted about the allegations.

“As a 21-year-old, I hurt someone I cared very much about. I take full responsibility for my actions and I am very sorry,” Wu said in a statement to The Oregonian. “This single event forever changed my life and the person that I have become.”

The timing of this incident is consistent with the time period during which Wu was apparently suffering from his unspecified mental health problems, so one would assume it’s related. It’s also worth noting that the woman involved may have been a teenager, but she probably wasn’t underage since it’s reported she had graduated from High School in 2010, meaning she was most likely 18 or 19. That doesn’t diminish the seriousness of the charge, of course, but I do think it’s worth pointing out taht we’re not talking about attempted assault of a minor here.

In any event, Wu is undergoing mental health treatment. although it doesn’t appear to be affecting his ability to function in the House since he is recorded as having voted on legisation as recently as this week. For whatever reason, no criminal charges are being pursued in the November incident. I’m not sure whether this story goes any further or not. As we learned with Anthony Weiner, there’s no telling where a story like this will lead. However, Wu may benefit from the fact that the media and Congress itself are distracted right now by the debt ceiling debate (which is, of course, far more important as far as the nation is concerned). In the end, it may be the voters who decide if Wu survives assuming he decides to run for re-election.





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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. ken says:

    Mental illness is as real as cancer and can affect anyone. This man needs medical help. Lucky for him he has medical insurance to cover the cost of treatment. Without it he would probably end up homeless and living under a bridge.

    Mental illness can happen to anyone.

  2. superdestroyer says:

    Who cares? The chance that he will be forced from office is very limited unless there are pictures. And even if he does leave office, he would probably be replace by someone more to the left. The actions of an individual Congressman has zero effect on policy or governance.

  3. Trumwill says:

    I would prefer have liberal congressmen that do not bring up questions as to whether sexual advances involving teenagers were consensual or not over liberal congressmen that do. Conservative congressmen, too, for that matter.

  4. OldSouth says:

    Until recently, I was unaware that amorality and ingratitude had been included as one of the diagnosable mental illnesses.

    Silly me.

  5. ken says:


    The guy has a diagnoses mental health problem and is currently receiving treatment for it.

    Just be thankful that mental health treatment is available to people who need it today. At least it is to those with insurance that will cover it.

  6. OldSouth says:


    Or, perhaps, he’s just an amoral womanizer with a taste for the barely-legal daughters of his friends.

    Yes, mental illness exists, and those who suffer from it can respond to treatment in some cases.

    However, moral bankruptcy is just that. No dosage of any anti-depressant, and no regimen of talk therapy serves to cure it. The ‘mental illness’ dodge is also just that, a dodge. Out of respect for my friends who have truly endured the pain of true mental illness, I find his claims and behavior especially odious.

    If he truly is that impaired, he needs to resign and get himself sorted out. He can’t have it both ways.

  7. BigFire says:

    Don’t worry about his re-election come next year. He’s in a safe district, and the local paper will do its very best to bury this.

  8. sfp says:

    @BigFire: You realize that the source for the Politico story is (wait for it…] Wu’s local paper, don’t you…


  9. Idiot says:

    Is he worse that Representative West?