American Notes CONGRESS

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Though tales of libidinous mischief on Capitol Hill are not exactly rare, the allegations that surfaced last week about the sexual conduct of an Ohio Congressman came as something of a shock. In a conversation secretly videotaped by a Columbus television station last November, Republican Donald Lukens talked with Anna Coffman, an unemployed widow, in a fast-food restaurant about his relationship with the woman's daughter, now 17. "I couldn't understand a man in your position, why you're messin' around with these teenagers," said Coffman. Replied Lukens, who turns 58 this week: "I didn't really know she was a teenager. I do now, of course."

Coffman's daughter told the station that Lukens had twice paid her for sex: in 1985, when she was 13, and again last year. In his videotaped chat with the mother, Lukens seemed to suggest that he might arrange a Government job for her. Though the FBI says there is no evidence that the lawmaker was offering Coffman a bribe in exchange for her silence, the Franklin County prosecutor is considering whether to file criminal charges against the Congressman. Lukens, who has been divorced since 1983, refused to comment.