5 more women, all unidentified, say Packwood victimized them


PORTLAND, Ore. -- New allegations of sexual misconduct by U.S. Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., emerged yesterday as a complaint was filed with the Senate Ethics Committee charging that he victimized at least five additional women.

The complaint, filed by the Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, brings to 15 the number of women alleging improper behavior by the senator over the past two decades.

The five newly reported incidents date from the 1960s to the 1980s, according to the women. No details of the alleged contacts with the senator were provided in the complaint.

All five women cited in the complaint have so far declined to be identified and are considering whether to go public with their stories, said Holly Pruett, executive director of the coalition. Ms. Pruett called on members of the Senate ethics committee to conduct a thorough inquiry into all the charges.

Earlier this week, the committee said that it was opening a preliminary inquiry into the sexual harassment allegations against Mr. Packwood.

The preliminary inquiry, conducted by committee staff members, would aid the panel in deciding whether to proceed with a full investigation of the charges.

Some organizations of Oregon women say they are concerned that the Ethics Committee will hold abbreviated hearings on the matter and administer only a slap on the wrist to Mr. Packwood.

"We want to put them on notice that there are far more women out there than have already been identified," Ms. Pruett said.

The staff of the Senate Ethics Committee would not discuss the complaint or confirm late yesterday that it had arrived.

But a copy of the complaint was provided to the Los Angeles Times by Ms. Pruett, who faxed it to the committee.

Charges that the four-term senator kissed, grabbed and tried to undress women against their will first surfaced publicly late last month when the Washington Post reported on 10 of his alleged victims.

Mr. Packwood, who apologized if he had caused "discomfort or embarrassment" to anyone, checked into an alcohol treatment facility Monday. His office had no comment on the new allegations.

The charges against Mr. Packwood, who was re-elected last month to a fifth term, have caused an uproar in Oregon.

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