Tiger Suit Congressman Accused of 'Unwanted Sexual Encounter'

Last time we heard from Congressman David Wu, he was BlackBerrying pics of himself wearing a tiger costume to his employees and pursuing other strange activities that led several staffers to quit working for him. Now a young woman's accusing him of "aggressive and unwanted sexual behavior."

Today Wu—a Democratic seven-term congressman who represents part of Portland—was supposed to meet with Congressional leaders to discuss the allegations, made by a young woman from California who's also the daughter of one of his longtime donors. The woman didn't contact police after the alleged incident occurred (around Thanksgiving), but did call Wu's office this spring and left a voice mail in which she reportedly sounded "upset, breathing heavily and 'distraught.'" The Oregonian reports that she didn't contact police because she "believed there was not enough evidence to press charges."

Wu's admitted to his senior aides that a sexual encounter occurred between him and the woman—who had just graduated from high school several months prior to the alleged attack—but says it was consensual. A public statement issued by Wu on Friday evening suggests that he's taking the allegations to heart. "This is very serious, and I have absolutely no desire to bring unwanted publicity, attention or stress to a young woman and her family," he said. His tone suggests that he will not wear any sort of animal costume when meeting with congressional leaders, which is a good thing.

This isn't the first time Wu has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior. In 2004, his hometown paper reported that, as a 21-year-old junior at Stanford University, he had been accused of sexual assault by an ex-girlfriend and fellow classmate:

That summer, the 21-year-old Wu was brought to the campus police annex after his ex-girlfriend said he tried to force her to have sex, according to Raoul K. Niemeyer, then a patrol commander who questioned him.

Wu had scratches on his face and neck, and his T-shirt was stretched out of shape, Niemeyer said.

Earlier, someone had interrupted a scuffle in the woman's dorm room. A Stanford professor said the woman told him the next day that Wu had angrily attacked her. An assistant dean who counseled the woman for two months said that the woman called it attempted rape and that Wu used a pillow to muffle her screams.

Wu told police that what happened was consensual. "He said, 'We just, I was with my girlfriend, and we just got a little carried away,' " Niemeyer remembered. After that, he said, Wu "clammed up."

After the 2004 Oregonian article, Wu took "full responsibility" for the incident, which took place in 1976, and claimed to be a changed man. But perhaps his troubled mental state last fall—which went beyond dressing up like a Winnie the Pooh character to include airport shenanigans, kooky speeches, and other weird things—led him down a dark road. Or it was just those pills.

[Oregonian, Associated Press via Houston Chronicle. Image via Willamette Week]