Texas Republican State Senator Charles Schwertner is being accused of sending a graphic text message to a University of Texas grad student. That text included, allegedly, a photograph of his genitals and a message saying, “I just really want to f—- you.”
Senator Schwertner, who is married and has three children, denies the allegation. University officials say they are considering banning him if the allegation proves to be true, the American-Statesman reports.
The conservative Republican met the student at a university on-campus event. She told him she was interested in working in the legislature. They exchanged messaged via LinkedIn before moving to text messaging.
The senator’s office issued a statement saying he “categorically denies any knowledge of the accusations leveled against him and only became aware of this allegation when contacted by the media.”
UT is currently investigating the allegation made against state Sen. Charles Schwertner that claimed he sent a sexually explicit image and text message to a graduate student he met this past summer at an on-campus event.
Gary Susswein, chief communications officer for UT, said in a statement that he cannot confirm the story, which is based off of three unnamed sources, and that the University does not discuss active investigations to protect their integrity.
“The University of Texas takes all allegations of wrongdoing seriously and encourages members of the campus community to report them immediately,” Susswein said in the statement. “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.”
According to the Statesman, two UT officials said when the student met Schwertner, a Georgetown Republican and UT alumnus, at the summer event, they exchanged LinkedIn information and then began text messaging. After a professional exchange centering on networking advice, the student said Schwertner wrote, “I just really want to f—- you,” followed by an image of his genitals in the shower. A UT official has seen the photo and said the image does not include Schwertner’s face.
UT officials said the student told Schwertner the image was inappropriate and then Schwertner did not respond. The student reported the behavior to the school, prompting the investigation.
Senator Charles Schwertner is a physician, family man, business owner, and a life-long conservative. In 2010, Schwertner was first elected to serve the people of House District 20 as a member of the Texas House of Representatives. There, he quickly earned a reputation as a measured and effective legislator, working with his colleagues to pass one of the most conservative legislative agendas in Texas history.
In 2012, Schwertner won the Republican Primary for the Texas Senate (District 5) with nearly 75 percent of the vote. Senate District 5 is a ten-county region of Central and East Texas that includes Brazos, Freestone, Grimes, Leon, Limestone, Madison, Milam, Robertson, Walker and Williamson Counties.
In Texas Senate, Dr. Schwertner serves as a Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services; the committee responsible for setting public health policy for the state, regulating physicians and other health professions, and providing legislative oversight of the state’s health-related agencies. Schwertner also serves as a member of the Senate Committees on Finance, Administration, Business & Commerce and State Affairs. In September 2013, Senator Schwertner was also named to the powerful Sunset Advisory Commission, a 12-member legislative body charged with providing a comprehensive periodic review of more than 150 state agencies
Schwertner is running for re-election this year. Voters will choose between him and Democrat Meg Walsh.
In 2014 Sen. Schwertner signed on to an amicus brief supporting the false claim that legal “recognition of same-sex marriage ‘could lead to the recognition of bigamy, incest, pedophilia, and group marriage,’” as HuffPost reported. Other signatories included Ken Paxton, now the state’s Attorney General, and Dan Patrick, now the state’s Lt. Governor. Patrick, a very powerful far right wing conservative, has endorsed Schwertner for re-election.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, upon hearing of the allegations against Schwertner, said in a statement that he is “deeply concerned” and had “no advance knowledge” of the investigation until he read the Statesman’s report.
“I was also concerned yesterday to see that numerous University of Texas officials spoke to the media, potentially jeopardizing the integrity of a serious investigation. I am calling on the university to complete their inquiry in a professional manner, protecting the privacy rights of both parties,” Patrick said in the statement. “The Texas Senate is awaiting the conclusion of the investigation and expects a full report on this matter.”
Of further interest Dr Schwetner is the senator who pushed for medicaid cuts for disabled children which affect an estimated 60-thousand special needs children. Schwertner says a Texas A&M study showed therapists were overcharging the state. Texas A&M later said it’s study was flawed. But the cuts have gone into effect anyway.
“I think everyone agrees the state has a responsibility to provide these life-changing therapies to the children of families that depend on them, but at the same time taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to pay for these services,” Schwertner said.
In 2016 the Texas legislature approved a $350 million cut in Medicaid reimbursement rates to early childhood intervention therapists and providers. The cuts, affect the most vulnerable Texas children — those born extremely prematurely or with Down syndrome or other genetic conditions that put them at risk for developmental delay.