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.