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WOMEN OFFENDED? PACKWOOD HAS DOUBTS

Sen. Bob Pack-wood is challenging some of his accusers' claims that they were offended by what they portrayed as unwanted sexual advances between 1969 and 1990.

He said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday he doesn't understand why some of the accusers continued volunteering to work on his campaigns, sought employment in his office and wrote him letters in the months and years after the alleged incidents."It's not a question of the stories they tell. It is what happened afterwards," the Oregon Republican said. He said none of the women ever indicated to him they were troubled by his behavior.

Packwood made his comments to the AP after taping an interview that aired Tuesday night on the "Dateline NBC" television program. He continued his round of interviews Wednesday, telling ABC's "Good Morning America" that he opposed public hearings into the allegations. "What I want to do now is get it over with and go on with life. I've got serious duties in the Senate."

Packwood told the AP he should not be expelled from the Senate even if the Ethics Committee finds him guilty of all allegations of sexual and official misconduct facing him.

He said the only senators ever expelled were those found guilty of treason, and the allegations against him are not comparable.

"When you have one complaint in 12 years, when you have others that are 15, 20, a quarter century old and the only reason we have expelled people is for treason, do you put that on the same scale?" Packwood asked.

"No," he answered.

The senator also denied for the first time publicly that he or anyone else altered his diaries before they were turned over to the Ethics Committee.

"The committee never received any altered materials. The tapes were original. I think beyond that, I'm not going to get into it," he said.

The Ethics Committee concluded in May there was "substantial credible evidence" that Packwood made unwanted sexual advances toward 17 women in 18 instances between 1969 and 1990.

It issued the same finding for allegations he sought jobs for his wife, while the couple was divorcing, from lobbyists and businessmen with interests in legislation and altered his diaries when he learned they might be subpoenaed.