The Ticket

Rep. David Wu accused of unwanted sexual encounter

The Ticket

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Wu (Don Ryan/AP)

A young woman this spring accused Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) of an aggressive and unwanted sexual encounter, the Oregonian reported Friday. House leadership this weekend called for an ethics investigation into the embattled congressman's latest scandal.

The married congressman, who admitted in February to receiving mental health treatment after reports of bizarre behavior, confirmed to staff that he had a sexual encounter with the daughter of a friend who is a longtime donor. Wu insisted, however, that the encounter was consensual.

The newspaper reports that Facebook indicates the young woman graduated high school in 2010 and registered to vote in August. Multiple news outlets identify the unnamed woman as a teenager.

She reportedly left a voicemail at Wu's Portland office stating the accusation this spring. She did not call police.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Sunday evening called for the House Ethics Committee "to initiate an investigation into the allegations against Congressman Wu" following a conversation Pelosi reportedly had with Wu Saturday.

The lawmaker who heads up Democrats' 2012 election efforts--Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) chairman Steve Israel--also called for an official ethics investigation. "New allegations of unacceptable behavior by Congressman Wu are extremely serious and disturbing," Israel said in a statement. "I strongly agree with Leader Pelosi's request that the House Ethics Committee use its authority to begin an immediate investigation."

Wu has so far firmly stressed that he does not intend to resign his seat, despite repeated calls for him to do so, amid the steady drumbeat of scandals since his re-election in November. But this is the first time House leadership has--in effect--publicly pressured the congressman to do so.

Wu disclosed in July 2010 that he had stopped drinking. He was legally separated from his wife the following month.

In February, The Oregonian reported that staff held an intervention for the congressman prior to the Nov. 2, 2010 election after he sent staff a photo of himself wearing a tiger costume, authored emails to staff as if they were written by his children, prompted public complaints after an angry speech to Democrats and campaigned at the airport. Earlier this year several staff, including his longtime chief of staff and his communications director left Wu's office. In March, it was revealed that Wu had totaled a car in 2010. He blamed lack of sleep.

Wu was accused of sexual assault by an ex-girlfriend while attending Stanford University in the 1970s, an incident the congressman publicly confirmed and apologized for in 2004 following news reports. The woman informed faculty at the time but declined to file criminal charges and did not file a formal complaint with the university.

Multiple newspaper boards in Oregon have called for Wu's resignation as the negative reports have continued to mount. But Sunday marks the first time congressional leadership has put public pressure on Wu to leave Washington.

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