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Oregon congressman to resign over teen's accusation

WASHINGTON -- Rep. David Wu, D-Ore., announced Tuesday he would resign from Congress, following allegations of sexual misconduct with a teenage girl.

WASHINGTON -- Rep. David Wu, D-Ore., announced Tuesday he would resign from Congress, following allegations of sexual misconduct with a teenage girl.

The resignation announcement came in the wake of a report last week that the teenage daughter of a longtime friend and campaign donor called the congressman's office earlier this year to accuse him of an unwanted sexual encounter over Thanksgiving. Wu, 56, acknowledged the incident to his aides but said it was consensual, the Portland Oregonian reported.

On Monday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called for a formal ethics investigation. By Tuesday, Wu, a seven-term member of Congress, said he would resign his post, which he called "the greatest privilege of my life" in a statement.

"I cannot care for my family the way I wish while serving in Congress and fighting these very serious allegations," Wu said in a statement. "The wellbeing of my children must come before anything else."

The sex scandal is the second in as many months to rock Democrats in Congress. In June, Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., stepped down after a prolonged drama in which he eventually admitted to sending lewd photos to women online.


A third congressman, Rep. Christopher Lee, R-N.Y., resigned earlier this year after flirtatious emails and shirtless photos of himself that he sent to a woman on Craigslist were made public.

The allegations against Wu, who was the first Chinese-American to serve in the House of Representatives, are only the latest troubles for the departing congressman. Earlier this year, Wu admitted to seeking medical help for mental health troubles. At one point in 2010, he sent his aides photos of himself in a tiger costume that have since become public. After his re-election last fall, several of his staff members resigned.

The exact date of Wu's departure remains unclear. Wu said he would step down "upon the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis" that has gripped Washington for weeks; lawmakers are scrambling to lift the debt cap before an Aug. 2 deadline, but have made little outward progress.

After Wu resigns, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat, must call a special election to replace him, under state law. Depending on the date he sets, there would either be a primary, or party officials would select their own nominees.

Top Democrats were optimistic they could hold Wu's seat in the upcoming election. Rep. Steve Israel of New York, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, noted that Oregon's first congressional district has been represented by a Democrat since 1975.

"We are confident that a Democrat will continue to represent the families in this overwhelmingly Democratic district," he said in a statement.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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