As issues of gender sensitivity and equality take prominence across the globe, University campuses are witnessing higher incidents of sexual misconduct, which mandate immediate sensitization to facilitate the evolution of a gender-equitable society.
In one such incident at University of Texas campus, a female student received sexually-explicit messages from the account of state Senator Charles Schwertner. The University launched a probe into the matter and concluded that “available evidence” does not prove the Republican Congressman’s guilt and the messages could have been sent by a third party who hacked into the Senator’s account.
The university report was released on Tuesday by lead investigator Johnny Sutton, a former U.S. attorney who said that a third party may have been involved in the misconduct. Charles Schwertner admitted to sharing his login information to another person who may have carried out the disturbing act. However, in an act of defiance, he declined to disclose the identity of the alleged belligerent.
In his report, Sutton concluded: “[Charles Schwertner] has access to information that could allow a more definitive conclusion to this matter, but (he) is unwilling to share that information and the University lacks authority to compel him to investigate more fully.”
Allegations against Charles Schwertner first surfaced in September amid reports of possible sexual harassment against a female graduate student. Following this, University of Texas had initiated a Title IX investigation.During the course of the investigation, the victim alleged that Schwertner had sent her sexually demeaning texts and a picture of his genitals using LinkedIn and Hushed. University investigators later confirmed that the messages were indeed sent from Schwertner’s accounts. A forensic analysis of the same concluded that the texts were not sent from the Congressman’s phone. An attorney claiming to represent an unidentified third party said his client had indeed sent the messages, not the accused. Ultimately, investigators accepted – they could neither prove the allegations against Schwertner nor clear him of his alleged offences.
The investigation report further stated: “We recognize that it is plausible that the Respondent [Schwertner] 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.”
Schwertner himself has been an alumnus of the prestigious University. He was re-elected to his state senate seat in November. He had earlier agreed to be actively involved in the investigation, but his attorneys advised him against cooperating over concerns that the senator would not be afforded the same level of confidentiality as the victim.
In a statement to the Texas Tribune, Sen. Charles Schwertner said: “I do not condone sexual misconduct of any kind. The University of Texas has closed their investigation because I did not send the offensive text messages in question; this unfortunate matter is now closed.”