The University of Texas at Austin has concluded its investigation into allegations Texas State Senator Charles Schwertner (R – Georgetown) sent sexually explicit messages, including an image, to a female student.
The outside investigator hired by the university was former U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton. Sutton concluded, based “on the available evidence”, Schwertner did not violate university policy, but noted he did not fully cooperate with the investigation by withholding prudent information.
As Reform Austin previously reported, Schwertner was accused in September of sending sexually explicit content to a graduate student, including a picture of his genitalia. The student subsequently reported Schwertner, and the university undertook an investigation.
As reported by the Austin American-Statesman, investigator Sutton stated 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.”
While the investigation confirmed Schwertner’s claim the messages were not sent from his phone, the messages were apparently sent using a phone “app”, Hushed, which places a private phone number on phones and offers anonymity for texting and phone calls. Schwertner claims a third person had access to his username and password to the app, but declined to name the person or their relationship to him. An image sent to the student came from a phone number which matched a handwritten number on one of Schwertner’s business cards. Additionally, messages sent to the student came from Schwertner’s Hushed and LinkedIn accounts.
Schwertner, a physician, was named one of Texas Monthly’s Worst Legislators in the 84th legislative session for his “tyrannical” leadership of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee. He also shattered a glass table with his gavel at a committee hearing on women’s health during the 85th legislative session in 2017.
The executive summary of investigator Sutton’s report can be found here.
Reform Austin will continue to report on developments in this story.