Texas state senator Charles Schwertner (R) has been accused of sexual misconduct by a graduate student who was seeking career advice.
According to the Austin American Statesman, the University of Texas at Austin is investigating the allegation the student made against Sen. Schwertner, whom she met at a campus event over the summer. According to her, the state senator texted her a picture that appeared to be his genitalia after texting “I just really want to fuck you.”
“The Senator categorically denies any knowledge of the accusations leveled against him and only became aware of this allegation when contacted by the media late this afternoon,” Schwertner campaign spokesman Tom Holloway told the Statesman. “The Senator is eager to cooperate with the University of Texas and hopes to make clear he played no part in the behavior described.”
The university said that it does not comment on ongoing investigations, in order to protect the investigative process. However, in a written statement, UT spokesman Gary Susswein stated the university “takes all allegations of wrongdoing seriously” and encouraged survivors to report any misconduct immediately.
“We strive to investigate complaints thoroughly and quickly while respecting the confidentiality of students and employees who file complaints and those accused of wrongdoing,” Susswein told the Statesman. “UT is strongly committed to fostering a safe campus environment and to providing needed support and resources to victims.”
In addition to Schwertner, two Democratic state senators in Texas have also been accused of sexual misconduct. According to the Houston Chronicle, senators Borris Miles (D) and Carlos Uresti (D) both denied the allegations. However, Uresti eventually resigned from his post after a federal jury found him guilty of 11 felonies for defrauding investors in a now-defunct oilfield services company.
Sen. Schwertner, who is married and has three children, is one of the more senior state senators in the chamber, chairing the the Health and Human Services Committee. He is running for re-election this November.
Scott Alden is a freelance contributor covering national politics, education, and environmental issues. He is a proud Toledo University graduate, and lives in the suburbs of Detroit.