Last summer when one of Rep. John Young's former employees accused the Texas Democrat of paying her primarily for the sexual favors she provided him, Jane Gallier Young stood firmly beside her husband of 26 years and the father of their five children.
Speaking bitterly of Washington and the women who work on Capitol Hill, she then told a newspaper reporter in Corpus Christi, Tex., "I don't think the people of his district are going to buy these stories . . . I think they believe in John."
Apparently they did. In November, Young, 60, won re-election to his 11th term in the House by a 2-to-1 margin over the first Republican opposition he had faced since 1964.
Family friends said yesterday that Mrs. Young, 55, never seemed to have recovered fully from the shock of the allegations. Wednesday evening, in the quiet of the Youngs split-level McLean home, she brought their 27 years of marriage to an abrupt end, apparently with a single shot from a 22-caliber pistol.
Although Mrs. Young had been "ill recently," one of Young's aides yesterday said the congressman and his family were shocked by her death, which Fairfax County police said had "every indication of a self-inflicted every indication of a suicide."
Rep. Young, who had denied his former employee's sexual allegations, secluded himself with his three children who live in McLean and refused most requests for comment. "All I can say is that she had not been in good health for someone not suffering from any specific illness," he told the Associted Press.
The charges that he had paid one aide $26,000 a year primarily because of their sexual relationship "certainly didn't help (her) any," he told AP.
Neighbors agreed that Mrs. Young, who had been a Texas welfare worker when she married Young, an assistant state prosecutor at the time, appeared to have changed since the allegations were made public. She never discussed the scandal with neighbors, but began smoking more heavily and was under a doctor's care, one neighbor said.
When Mrs. Young did make her one public comment on the charges, she clearly was anguished. The newspaper her as "tense and defensive." But on her faith in her husband, there was no wavering.
"John and I have had 26 fine, good years together and we're not going to let something like this disrupt our relationship," she told Peter Applebone, a reporter for The Corpus Christi Caller-Times. "Oh Lordy, mercy, no. Her allegations don't concern me. What does concern me is that anyone would take her word and report it."
She blamed both the press, Washington and the women of Capitol Hill for the controversy. "There are literally hundreds of girls like her on the Hill who are only out for what they can get for themselves," she said. "They don't care what they look like as long as they get their own name in the paper."
"Washington has changed" since the Youngs arrived in 1957, she said. "It's harsher and there are more pressures to deal with. I think the entire spectrum of his job and his responsibility have changed."
The glamor of the capital had clearly worn thin. "I never considered it anything particularly romantic," she said. "The lack of privacy and the pressures on both of us have always been there."
When Young arrived home Wednesday about 7 p.m. he found his wife unconscious in a bedroom. She was taken to Arlington Hospital, but never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead at 9:15 p.m. Police said they found no note.
Sol. Z. Rosen, the lawyer for the woman who made the allegations. Colleen Gardner, said yesterday his client would not comment on Mrs. Young's death. The charges were once considered by the Justice Department, but dropped because, a spokesman said, the allegations would be difficult to prove. The allegation currently are the subjects of a multimillion libel lawsuit the congressman has filed a libel suit her lawyer has filed against Young.