Rep. David Wu, D-Ore., is once again the subject of damaging allegations - this time that he pushed a teenage girl into an unwanted sexual encounter, according to a story in the Oregonian.
The Oregonian report, published late Friday, cites multiple unnamed sources that a "distraught young woman" called Wu's office this spring and accused him of the encounter, which appears to have occurred over Thanksgiving 2010. When confronted, Wu said the incident was consensual. The young woman is said to be the daughter of a donor and high school friend of Wu's.
Wu released a statement to the Oregonian late Friday night, which didn't directly address the allegation. "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 in the statement. He has not responded to a request for comment from Hotline On Call.
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The new allegation is the latest--but by far the most serious--in a string of erratic behavior that began last fall in the runup to the November elections. In one incident, Wu sent to his staffers a photo of himself in a Halloween tiger costume. His behavior become so unpredictable his aides began to avoid scheduling public appearances with him, even though he faced a competitive re-election.
His behavior that fall didn't become public until January of this year. After most of his campaign and House staff quit, Wu was forced to confront the controversy, and said his behavior had been as the result of extreme stress following a divorce from his wife, and that he had also taken prescription pain killers from a campaign donor. Wu also said he was now seeking treatment for mental illness, but remained adamant that he was not resigning from Congress and would seek reelection in 2012.
This isn't the first time Wu has been accused of unwanted sexual advances . In 2004, The Oregonian reported that Wu had been disciplined in 1976 when he was a student at Stanford University for trying to force an ex-girlfriend to have sex with him.
The mounting list of troubles for Wu has already attracted interest in the race from both Democrats and Republicans. He's already drawn two Democratic primary challengers - state Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian and state Rep. Brad Witt - with several others also considering the race. Republican businessman Rob Cornilles, who ran unsuccessfully against Wu in 2010, is also mulling a campaign.