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Masseur Sherwood?

Rep. Don Sherwood (R-Pa.) has declined further comment on a titillating news report that a young woman called 911 from his Washington, D.C., apartment seven months ago, saying that the Congressman had choked her.

[IMGCAP(1)] The Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., cited a police report that said Cynthia Ore, 29, of Rockville, Md., locked herself in a bathroom at Sherwood’s D Street apartment and called 911 from her cellphone on the afternoon of Sept. 15, saying Sherwood “choked her for no apparent reason.”

Sherwood, 64 and married, told police he was giving Ore a backrub when she suddenly “jumped up” and ran to the bathroom, according to the newspaper. Sherwood told the Times Leader that Ore was “an acquaintance,” but he would not say what the young woman was doing at his apartment (besides, apparently, getting her back massaged).

The newspaper said that no one was charged “in what police termed a domestic incident.” The paper quoted the Washington Metropolitan Police Department report as saying both Ore and Sherwood “left out significant information or are not willing to discuss in detail what actually happened.”

After first telling police she was assaulted, Ore changed her story to say she and the Congressman were “sitting in the living room sipping tea,” the newspaper wrote, adding that police said Ore “did not seem to be of sound mind.”

Ore told the Times Leader in an interview that she met Sherwood at a Young Republicans meeting in 1999 and had “an ongoing relationship with him.” Sherwood would not discuss details of the relationship but said he has seen Ore only once since the incident, when he coincidentally ran into her “on the street.”

Sherwood denied that he choked Ore. “She made an allegation against me which, I say, is absolutely not true. The police investigated the allegation and agreed,” Sherwood told the Times Leader.

The story came to light when Democrat Veronica Hannevig, who ran against Sherwood in 2004, faxed information on the incident to the Times Leader. The paper then verified the information with Washington police and obtained a copy of the incident report.

“People can say what they want to. It’s a political smear,” Sherwood told the paper.

That smear might get even messier: Ore hinted to the Times Leader that she is considering taking legal action against the Congressman.

Sherwood’s office declined to discuss the story or the police report with HOH.

New York in North Dakota. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) is fixin’ to chow down on some big juicy steaks, courtesy of Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.).

DeGette won a bet against Pomeroy that her University of Denver Pioneers would beat his University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux in the 2005 NCAA hockey finals. The Pioneers did, indeed, defeat the Fighting Sioux 4-1 for their second consecutive championship.

Pomeroy honored his debt by delivering a bunch of New York strip steaks — from North Dakota cattle — to DeGette’s office last week.

DeGette is sharing her four steaks with her roommate, Rep. Darlene Hooley (D-Ore.), and — in a show of true sportsmanship — with Pomeroy, and another Member to be named later.

Sri Sri on the Hill. His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the spiritual guru from India, is speaking at the Folger Shakespeare Library from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The International Association for Human Values, which Shankar founded, is hosting the event.

The RSVP list includes the usual touchy-feely suspects, such as liberal-vegan-peacenik Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio). But what is a good ol’ boy from the South — conservative Rep. Henry Brown (R-S.C.) — doing on the list? Is he a secret follower of Sri Sri? A student of the spiritual leader’s “inner self” awareness and Sudarshan Kriya breathing and yoga workshops?

Brown, who sits on the Indian American Caucus, did in fact RSVP “yes” to the Sri Sri event. But his legislative assistant, Chris Berardini, urged HOH not to read too much into it. He said he responded affirmatively just in case the Congressman wanted to attend, not because Brown is a yogi.

More Hill Romance. We’ve found another yenta on Capitol Hill. Last week it was Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn.). Now, it’s Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.).

Last summer, Israel helped his outreach coordinator, Michael Seilback, plot a devilishly complicated scheme to surprise his girlfriend with a marriage proposal.

Seilback had his girlfriend, Leslie Haft, believe that he had to staff a few events for the Congressman in Manhattan. Since “the campaign” would be paying for his room at the Plaza Hotel, Leslie should come along.

Seilback typed up a fake schedule for his weekend work with the Congressman so that his girlfriend wouldn’t suspect anything. The Congressman played along by calling Seilback on his cellphone and saying loudly on speakerphone that he was already in the lobby of the Plaza and very agitated that no staff were there to assist him.

Leslie anticipated she’d be hanging out alone all weekend while her boyfriend dealt with the Honorable Mr. High Maintenance. But when she and Mike walked into their room at the Plaza, she found rose petals everywhere, vases of roses, lit candles, champagne and music — and a boyfriend who got down on one knee and asked, “Will you marry me?”

Israel attended the couple’s wedding last month, then gave his blessing for Michael and Leslie Seilback to go on a two-week honeymoon in Hawaii.

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