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Chinese-American lawmaker to quit over teenage sex claims

27 july 2011, 16:29
A Chinese-American lawmaker announced Tuesday he plans to resign from Congress following allegations of an unwanted sexual encounter with a teenaged woman, AFP reports.

Representative David Wu, a Democrat from the northwest state of Oregon, faces an ethics investigation and said he would resign to fight the "serious allegations" after the current debt crisis is resolved.

The Oregonian newspaper reported last week that the 18-year-old daughter of a colleague had called Wu's office to accuse him of an "unwanted sexual encounter" over Thanksgiving.

Wu -- the second Democratic lawmaker to have resign over a sex scandal in weeks, following that of Anthony Weiner over lewd online exchanges with women in June -- said the encounter was consensual, according to the paper.

The claims came after a series of erratic and inappropriate behavior by Wu. In January seven staffers resigned after Wu sent a picture of himself in a tiger costume to one employee, and made an angry public speech.

At the time he excused himself saying he was upset after marital issues led to his separation from his wife.

After the latest scandal broke the lawmaker had initially said he would not seek re-election next year, but now says he will resign once the current crisis over America's debt ceiling is resolved.

"The well-being of my children must come before anything else," said Wu, who was born in Taiwan, but identifies himself as ethnically Chinese.

"With great sadness, I therefore intend to resign effective upon the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis.

"This is the right decision for my family, the institution of the House and my colleagues," he added.

Wu, who was elected in 1998 as the first Chinese-American to serve in the House of Representatives, has insisted he did nothing illegal, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi requested an ethics probe into his conduct Monday.

Pelosi welcomed Wu's resignation announcement, saying: "Congressman Wu's decision today is a recognition of his need to focus on his children and their future.

"The timing of his decision is in the best interests of his constituents. My prayers are with him and his family," she added.

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