UT: Not enough evidence to link Texas senator to sexts sent to student

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AUSTIN (KXAN) —  Staff for the University of Texas at Austin closed their investigation into a Texas senator Tuesday after raising more questions about who sent lewd text messages to a student.

Investigators hired by UT’s Office of Inclusion and Equity wrote in an executive summary obtained by KXAN the “evidence does not support a finding” that Sen.Charles Schwertner, R- Georgetown, was responsible for the texts. In the summary, Sen. Schwertner blames a third person but won’t disclose who he or she is.

Through an attorney, the person unknown to investigators signed an affidavit admitted to sending naked pictures and inappropriate texts to a graduate student at the University of Texas. Investigators wrote Sen. Schwertner’s  “refusal to fully cooperate” prevented them from identifying that third person.

“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,” wrote Sen. Schwertner in a statement to KXAN, “I appreciate the steadfast support of my family, friends, and voters who believed in and reelected me just weeks ago. This unfortunate matter is now closed.”

KXAN obtained the executive investigation summary and copies of text messages handed over by the student.

A female student reported to University officials in August that Sen. Schwertner contacted her via LinkedIn and then sent her “sexually inappropriate text messages” including a photograph of a nude male body with the face cropped out. The University then hired Johnny Sutton, a former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, to investigate. 

Sen. Schwertner refused to meet with Sutton or answer five written questions according to the summary.

Investigators wrote Schwertner shared his phone number in an app called Hushed, which allows someone to communicate privately with multiple cell phone numbers without revealing their identity. 

According to the executive summary, Schwertner shared his login information with the third person. 

In the executive summary of the investigation, the investigators said they did not have enough evidence to show Schwertner violated Title IX or university policy, partially because Schwertner did not share all the information he had.

“We recognize that it is plausible [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. It is also plausible that the third person who claims to have sent the text messages and photograph does exist and did in fact send them. The forensic evidence shows that a third person had the means to do so. [Schwertner] has access to information that could allow a more definitive conclusion to this matter, but [Schwertner] is unwilling to share that information, and the University lacks authority to compel him to cooperate more fully,” the summary stated.

When KXAN called, the university declined to comment.

The Georgetown Republican has said he is innocent and his attorneys said in October they had a lie detector test to back up his denial. They said the test results showed he was telling the truth.

The conversation 

Photos of the messages sent Aug. 28 show someone asking a UT Austin graduate student to have sexual intercourse and telling her “this is Charles.” Separately, the student sent a picture of Schwertner’s business card with the same number handwritten on it.

“And I have more proof of life ;)” shows a text message, followed by a picture censored by the University of Texas. According to the complaint, it was a “photograph of a nude male body with the face cropped out.”

She then responds via text, “Please stop, this is unprofessional.” 

In the emails to the Title IX investigators, there are also several screenshots of conversations between the student and Schwertner from LinkedIn. 

Investigators determined Schwertner’s phone was not the one that used the Hushed app to send the messages, but were unable to test the third person’s phone or any of Schwertner’s other devices.

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