AUSTIN — Following a report that state Sen. Charles Schwertner is under investigation by the University of Texas for allegedly sending an obscene image and text message to a graduate student after meeting her at an event on-campus, the Georgetown Republican lawmaker is denying the claim.
Sen. Schwertner has hired a law firm for assistance, according to KVUE and Austin American-Statesman reporter Tony Plohetski.
The Austin American-Statesman originally reported the story Tuesday, Sept. 25.
In their report, the Statesman cited details from three “senior UT officials” who said Schwertner and the graduate student connected after the woman told Schwertner she was interested in working for the Legislature.
Following an exchange of messages on LinkedIn, the Statesman said the pair progressed to texting each other. According to the Statesman, it was at that point that Schwertner sent the woman a text with graphic language and an explicit photo of himself.
On Tuesday, Schwertner said he had hired attorneys to investigate the incident.
They said, “We have spent hours with Senator Schwertner and others regarding these claims. Senator Schwertner did not send any inappropriate texts as alleged. Period. The Senator is devastated over these allegations and is concerned for the unnamed victim. We are in contact with the University of Texas to resolve this matter. Our statements regarding the Senator will be proven in the days and weeks to come. Until then, Senator Schwertner deserves the courtesy of holding judgment until he is afforded the opportunity for a fair process to occur.”
Before Schwertner's statement, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick responded to the Statesman's report.
“I am deeply concerned about the serious allegations reported in the Austin American-Statesman on September 25 regarding Sen. Charles Schwertner. I had no advance knowledge of the inquiry until I read about it in the news report," he said.
Patrick added that he is concerned that UT officials spoke to the media about the investigation, which he said could jeopardize it. He concluded his statement by saying the Texas Senate is expecting a full report on the incident after the investigation is finalized.
Democratic candidate for Lt. Gov., Mike Collier, also responded to the allegations against Schwertner and said in a statement, "Allegations of sexual impropriety should be investigated in an independent and professional manner. All parties should be treated with respect as the facts are being established. In this particular instance, the Texas Senate must take joint responsibility, along with UT officials, for the conduct of the investigation. As President of the Texas Senate, the Lt. Governor must assume responsibility for the disposition of matters involving the conduct of any Senator or Senate staff."
The University of Texas told KVUE they are unable to confirm whether there is an ongoing investigation into the matter.
Check back for updates.