Congressman Says He Was Set Up in Child Sex Case
GREENVILLE, Ohio (AP) _ U.S. Rep. Donald Lukens said Monday he was set up and solicited for money in connection with an alleged sexual incident involving a teen-age girl.
In an interview at his district office in this western Ohio city, Lukens denied the charge of contributing to the unruliness and delinquency of a child, a 16-year-old girl. A grand jury in Columbus indicted the 58-year-old Republican on the misdemeanor charge Thursday.
″I was approached for money on the basis of the general allegation,″ he said. ″I said, ’Hey, I’m not going to pay any money. Nothing happened.‴
Lukens said he was asked for money more than once, with the threat that those involved would go to police and the news media if he refused. He questioned why police were not immediately notified following the alleged incident.
″I believe that I was set up, and I know for a fact because I was the person they asked for money,″ Lukens said.
He would not specify who approached him for money, adding that there are some things he can’t discuss because they will be the basis of his defense.
In an interview with a Dayton television station, Lukens denied having sex with the girl.
″Did you have sex with (the girl)?″ the interviewer asked.
″No,″ Lukens replied.
Lukens, who is divorced, did not deny he knew the girl and said he met her on occasion.
Lukens made his remarks during interviews with reporters following a meeting with local supporters and constituents in Greenville, which is about 40 miles northwest of Dayton. Earlier Monday, Lukens met with supporters at a private residence in Middletown and gave interviews to newspapers in Hamilton and Eaton.
They were his first public appearances in his district since the investigation was revealed nearly a month ago.
″I’m back at work,″ Lukens said, promising to complete his two-year congressional term, which expires in 1990.
Lukens charged that the news media assumed he was guilty and failed to investigate the moral character of the people involved.
He also accused Columbus television station WSYX of delaying broadcast of a videotaped meeting he had with the girl’s mother for five weeks to take advantage of a ratings week. WSYX News Director Carl Twentier denied the charge.
Lukens said he has not seen the secretly recorded videotape, which shows him meeting with Anna Coffman last November in a Columbus fast-food restaurant.
In the videotape, broadcast by WSYX on Feb. 1, Ms. Coffman asks why Lukens was ″messing around″ with her daughter. She alleged that Lukens had a sexual relationship with her daughter on two occasions, once when the girl was 13. The daughter is now 17.
In the videotape, Lukens responds that he thought the daughter was an adult.
The grand jury indicted Lukens in connection with an act of sexual intercourse that allegedly occurred last November, when the girl was 16. Prosecutors said they have evidence money was involved.
If convicted, Lukens could be sentenced to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.