A former aide to Rep. Matt Wingard (R-Wilsonville) told officials that she was pressured into sending sexually oriented text messages and eventually a sexual relationship. She accused Wingard of buying her alcohol when she was underage, Oregon Live reports.
Willamette Week, which first reported the allegations, reports that the relationship took place in 2010. Wingard allegedly kept the woman on the public payroll after she ended the relationship and stopped coming to work. The state Department of Justice and the Clackamas County sheriff closed their investigations, concluding there was no "criminal element" in the relationship.
Wingard in a statement said he is "deeply sorry" for the harm the relationship has caused his family and supporters. "In hindsight, I should not have entered into the relationship and for that, I offer my most sincere apology."
House Republican Leader Kevin Cameron released the following statement, according to Oregon Live:
"Leaders of the House Republican caucus take these reported allegations against Rep. Matt Wingard seriously. This is a personal issue between Rep. Wingard and another individual, and it's something that he's actively working to resolve. However, as with any workplace, our caucus does not approve of inappropriate relationships between officials or managers and their subordinates.
"Rep. Wingard has volunteered to step down as Deputy Republican Leader, and I have accepted his request.Â This will allow him to focus on addressing these allegations, while serving the citizens of House District 26."
A spokesperson at the Oregon House Republicans was not immediately available for comment.