A Republican state senator in Texas is accused of sending sexually explicit messages and photos of his genitals to a University of Texas graduate student, reports said.
The university is investigating allegations made against Sen. Charles Schwertner and could consider banning him from the school’s Austin campus, school officials told the Austin American-Statesmen.
Schwertner, who is a practicing orthopedic surgeon, denied the allegations through a spokesman, saying he “is eager to cooperate with the University of Texas and hopes to make clear he played no part in the behavior described.” He did not immediately respond to a Fox News email for comment.
The officials said the student and Schwertner, a UT alumnus, met at a campus event where she told him she was interested in working in the state legislature. The pair then exchanged messages on the networking site LinkedIn before texting each other on their cellphones, reports said.
Schwertner allegedly texted the student, “I just really want to f— you,” and sent her a photo of what appeared to be his genitals in the shower. The image does not show his face, officials said, and the student never responded to the message.
The school initiated an investigation after the student reported the exchange.
A UT spokesman said the school “takes all allegations of wrongdoing seriously and encourages members of the campus community to report them immediately.”
Schwertner, who chairs the Health and Human Services Committee, was elected to the state House in 2010 and Senate in 2012. Last year, he authored a bill that would severely restrict abortions in the state that was eventually signed into law.
Schwertner is married and has three sons, according to a biography on his website. He is faces Democrat Meg Walsh for re-election this November.
Set against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement, Schwertner is the third member of the Texas Senate to face similar allegations since 2017.
After media reports revealed that women in the Texas Legislature used a whisper network to discuss harassers, the Senate and House revised guidelines regarding sexual harassment training and reporting this year.