The Fall Of David Wu


Unlike Anthony Weiner, David Wu resigned quickly enough to avoid a full airing of all of the damning details. Instead, we’re left with some vague language about an “unwanted sexual encounter” and a picture of him in a tiger suit (below).

To recap: In May, a distraught teenage girl, daughter of a Wu donor and friend, left a voicemail at his headquarters saying there had been “an unwanted sexual encounter” between her and Wu over Thanksgiving. The Oregonian reported on the voicemails Friday, and Democrats eventually compelled Wu to resign.

Wu was already in trouble — his erratic behavior over the intervening months, including sending his staff this tiger suit photo of himself, had led to a heavy staff turnover.

Slate’s David Weigel notes, “The commonality between Wu and Weiner is that no scandal can be survived if the words ‘high school girl’ appear in it.” But unlike in that circumstance, which involved Weiner chatting with a girl without making sexual overtures, the nature of these allegations remains vague. Presumably, that’s better for the privacy of the girl, but it also makes the incident difficult to assess, since the language could encompass anything from rape to attempted rape to sexual harassment. From the Oregonian‘s original report:

Two people with knowledge of the recording and the later conversation with Wu said the alleged incident took place over Thanksgiving weekend. Sources said they were told that the woman went outside and Wu left after her. The sexual encounter followed, they said.

Today’s Oregonian online update uses even stronger language, saying the woman alleged that “Wu forced himself on her.” The paper had previously reported in 2004 that as an undergraduate at Stanford in the 1970s, an ex-girlfriend had accused Wu of trying to rape her. The woman had said Wu used a pillow to muffle her screams; Wu’s face and neck were scratched up. He was disciplined but the woman didn’t press criminal charges, and in 2004 Wu issued a statement, after multiple denials, saying, “As a 21-year-old, I hurt someone I cared very much about. I take full responsibility for my actions and I am very sorry. This single event forever changed my life and the person that I have become.”

Wu and his wife separated in December 2009, and their divorce is still pending. They have two children. In his resignation, Wu said, “The wellbeing of my children must come before anything else.”

David Wu Resigns [Oregonian]
Related: Sources: Young Woman Accuses Oregon Rep. David Wu Of Aggressive, Unwanted Sexual Encounter [Oregonian]
Where’s David Wu’s Wife? [Politico]

Allegation Of Assault On Woman In 1970s In College Shadow U.S. Rep. David Wu

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin