Rep. Donald "Buzz" Lukens, convicted of having sex with a teenage girl, resigned his House seat Wednesday rather than face charges he fondled a Capitol elevator operator.
In a letter to Ohio Gov. Richard Celeste, Lukens, R-Ohio, said he was resigning "effective immediately, for the good of the Congress and the integrity of the institution."Lukens did not appear at his Capitol Hill office Wednesday before the announcement. Staff members, who locked the door to keep waiting reporters at bay, released the word by handing a fistful of the one-line resignation statements to reporters and then slamming the door.
Lukens had been ordered to appear Tuesday afternoon before the House committee on Standards of Offical Conduct, but obtained a 24-hour delay to weigh his options.
With his decision to resign, the committee loses jurisdiction over Lukens and does not need to take further action.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Wednesday Lukens had decided to resign rather than risk being forced out and stripped of his pension and other benefits.
The newspaper said a source close to the investigation said Lukens patted the elevator operator on her buttocks, rubbed her back and shoulders and gave her his business card, listing his home phone number and private office number.
One unidentified source said there may be a witness, a passenger on the elevator.
Another source told The Plain Dealer the woman became so frightened of Lukens last Wednesday that she asked her fiance to act as her bodyguard on the elevator.
"She felt as if she were a hostage in that elevator," the source said. "She was humiliated and afraid because, after all, this was a member of Congress."
The ethics committee, which had conducted a preliminary investigatiion last year into the sex conviction against Lukens, said in a statement Monday that since that inquiry "the committee has received additional evidence indicating that Rep. Lukens may have made unwanted and unsolicited sexual advances to a congressional employee."