Update (Sept. 26):
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.”
UT is currently investigating an 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, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
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.
According to the Statesman, Schwertner’s spokesperson said he “categorically denies any knowledge of the accusations” and will cooperate with UT’s investigation.
UT officials declined to reveal the identity of the student to honor a confidentiality promise made to her by the University when she reported the incident.
If the allegation is true, Schwertner could be banned from campus. The University is also considering hiring additional legal counsel to investigate further, according to UT officials.
Susswein said the University will not be discussing an ongoing investigation “to protect the integrity of the investigative process.”
University spokesman J.B. Bird was unable to clarify what office at UT was conducting the investigation.