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Wed, Jun 13, 2001 - Page 3 News List

Legislator denies alleged affair

HARASSMENT CHARGE A former aide to Parris Chang says she and several other women have been sexually harassed by the DPP lawmaker in the past

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

DPP legislator Parris Chang yesterday held a press conference to refute allegations from his former aide Betty Wong that he had an extra-marital affair with her and that he has harassed other women. Chang says he might sue Wong to clear his name.

PHOTO: CHU YO-PING, TAIPEI TIMES

A former aide to Parris Chang (張旭成) accused the DPP legislator yesterday of having an extra-marital affair with her earlier this year and of sexual harassment -- charges Chang denies.

Still, the allegations are likely to complicate Chang's candidacy as an overseas legislator-at-large in the year-end legislative elections.

Betty Wong (汪鳳英) yesterday called Chang "a disgrace to the DPP," saying that he was a frequent womanizer and she hopes that "I am the last victim."

Wong told the China Times Weekly (時報週刊) of her alleged relationship with Chang. According to the paper's report, published yesterday, Wong said Chang began to court her in early February when he asked her to solicit votes for him during the party's primary elections. On the night of Feb. 15, she was invited to Chang's home, where she "lost consciousness" for about four hours for reasons which she could not explain. When she regained consciousness, around 11pm, she found her "dress and underwear unzipped" but "didn't feel like I'd had sex with him."

Wong says she was "touched by Chang's hardworking character," and later voluntarily dated him and stayed at his home on several occasions, as he had promised her a job after the primary elections in April.

"This, I admit, was a big mistake on my part," Wong said yesterday at a press conference.

But later Chang began to distance himself from her, she said, and broke his promise to secure her a job. Meanwhile, she felt disturbed and insulted by roughly 20 anonymous letters, some of which threatened to expose her affair while others called her names.

Wong also said she received calls from several women who expressed their sympathy, but refused to identify themselves and told her that she was not the first woman to fall victim to Chang's womanizing.

"I started asking for help, but I didn't get any response from Chang or the DPP," Wong said yesterday, requesting that Chang make a public apology and resign from his post.

Chang, however, flatly denied Wong's accusation.

"There has been no such thing. It's out of the question that she could have lived at my house for two weeks. I don't know what she is thinking. Maybe she was expecting something to happen. She imagined all of this," he said yesterday morning at a brief press conference.

Chang did concede that Wong had been introduced to him to work as his part-time assistant.

"Wong is a paranoid woman, who is sometimes inconsistent about what she says," the legislator said.

Echoing Wong's accusations, former DPP Chairman Shih Ming-teh's (施明德) ex-wife, Linda Arrigo, said, "Chang is a habitual sexual harasser who sometimes uses physical force."

"About ten years ago, Chang once sneaked into my bed in the university hotel when I visited him [at the university at which Chang then taught] in the United States," Arrigo told reporters yesterday, adding that she had no idea how Chang had got the key to her room, and that she had been very upset and rushed out of the room.

Arrigo added that a female executive director of an international organization had also privately informed her of similar misconduct by Chang.

The ruling DPP's central standing committee yesterday designated Lawrence Gao (高志鵬), one of its members, to talk to both parties and investigate the matter before the committee rules on whether Chang is guilty of misconduct and, if so, what his punishment should be. Gao, however, told reporters after the committee's meeting yesterday, "I disagree with the party's decision to interfere in Chang's personal life and affairs."

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