The University of Texas is investigating allegations that Texas State Senator Charles Schwertner sent an explicit image to a UT student he met this summer.
Charles Schwertner faces possible campus ban
According to reporting in the Austin American-Statesman, the Republican state senator from Georgetown, Texas met a female UT student at an on-campus event this summer. Unnamed university officials say the two began exchanging messages after the student expressed interest in working in the state legislature. Allegedly, Schwertner suddenly changed the subject of conversation by texting “I just really want to f—- you.” He also allegedly sent a picture of his genitals (apparently taken in the shower).
The student is said to have reported the incident to university authorities soon afterwards.
According to the American-Statesman, Senator Schwertner (a UT alumnus) will face a possible campus ban if the allegations prove true.
A spokesperson for Senator Schwertner denied the allegations when speaking to the Texas Tribune. Speaking yesterday Tom Holloway said Charles Schwertner “only became aware of this allegation when contacted by the media late this afternoon. The Senator is eager to cooperate with the University of Texas and hopes to make clear he played no part in the behavior described.”
Anonymous sources, so far
Neither the American-Statesman nor the Tribune have seen the texts or image. So far the only evidence for the allegations are statements by three unnamed UT officials referred to in the American-Statesman.
These sources said the school is keeping the name of the student confidential, both out of respect for her privacy and in accordance with the law.
A UT source willing to speak on the record to the Tribune explained the school’s policy. According to Gary Susswein, “The University of Texas takes all allegations of wrongdoing seriously and encourages members of the campus community to report them 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. UT is strongly committed to fostering a safe campus environment and to providing needed support and resources to victims.”
Continuing problems for Texas legislators
The past year has been a difficult one for several of Charles Schwertner’s legislative colleagues.
In December 2017 the Daily Beast published detailed sexual harassment allegations against Democratic Senators Boris Miles and Carlos Uresti. Uresti was later convicted of unrelated white collar crimes and sentenced to twelve years in prison before resigning.
Meanwhile, in the House, Representative René Oliveira was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated in April. He went on to lose his Democratic primary in May, ending 37 years of public service.