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State Sen. Charles Schwertner Cleared By UT In Sexual Harassment Case

Gabriel C. Pérez
State Sen. Charles Schwertner at a committee hearing in 2017.

An investigation by the University of Texas into allegations that Georgetown state Sen. Charles Schwertner sent inappropriate texts to a grad student has found the senator did not violate university policy or Title IX.

The student alleged the Republican senator, who won re-election in November, initially engaged with her over LinkedIn after meeting at an event on UT campus. Schwertner, the accuser said, then solicited sex over text and sent an unwanted sexual image, what the sender called "proof of life."

"Please stop, this is unprofessional," the accuser wrote in an Aug. 28 text, according to documents. "I'm a student interested in learning about Healthcare Policy. These advances are unwanted."

The university hired the Ashcroft Sutton Reyes law firm to conduct a Title IX investigation. The law prohibits schools that get federal funding from discriminating on the basis of sex.

Read the full summary of the investigation here.

Investigators found the texts were sent through an encrypted messaging service called Hushed, which gives users a disposable number. Schwertner's attorneys said a third person had access to that number and sent the messages. The attorneys said that person signed an affidavit swearing to have sent the texts, but would not make that person available to UT investigators.

Schwertner also did not agree to be interviewed. Investigators noted that they did not have the authority to force him to cooperate more fully or hand over his electronic devices. Ultimately, they found it was possible a third person sent the messages and that the available evidence did not point to a violation of UT policy.

"We recognize that it is plausible the Respondent sent the text messages and photograph from a device other than his personal cell phone and the third person claiming responsibility is being untruthful or does not exist, but we have no evidence to support those possibilities," a summary of the investigation stated. 

You can read the entire complaint here. Be advised: It contains language some may find offensive.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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