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Oregon State Rep. Resigns Leadership Post Amid Allegations

State Representative Matt Wingard. Photo courtesy of Oregon Legislature
State Representative Matt Wingard. Photo courtesy of Oregon Legislature

SALEM, Ore. – An Oregon state representative is suddenly stepping down from a leadership post. It follows allegations of an inappropriate sexual relationship between Republican Matt Wingard and a subordinate.

Wingard is quitting as Deputy Republican Leader of the Oregon House. He's fending off allegations that he used his position of power to pressure a young woman who worked in his office at the capitol into a sexual relationship. The woman also says Wingard gave her alcohol when she was still 20 years old.

The accusations were first made public by Willamette Week. The paper reports that both the Oregon Department of Justice and the Clackamas County Sheriff's office investigated the situation and declined to press charges against Wingard. He's in his second term representing Wilsonville.

He told Willamette Week that while the two did have a sexual relationship, he denied doing anything inappropriate.

House Republican leader Kevin Cameron issued a statement saying he takes the accusations seriously. He said that while it's a personal issue between Wingard and the former employee, the caucus does not approve of inappropriate relationships between officials and their subordinates.

On the Web:

Willamette Week article:

Rep. Wingard biography:

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

061312CL_wingard.jpg State representative Matt Wingard. Photo courtesy of Oregon Legislature.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.