By Lemor Abrams

SACRAMENTO (CBS13/AP) — California state Sen. Tony Mendoza will take a leave of absence through the end of the month during an investigation into sexual harassment allegations involving three former female employees.

The move was announced on the first day back for California legislators.

Mendoza’s announcement came after four hours of closed-door meetings Wednesday by Senate Democrats. He’d steadfastly refused calls to step aside for weeks and reiterated that defiant tone the morning before senators met.

In a brief statement, he didn’t say what changed his mind. He’ll be paid during the month.

Mendoza says he’ll come back Feb. 1 or sooner if the investigation concludes. The Senate has hired outside law firms to look into the allegations against him, but Mendoza says he has no indication the investigation has begun. He says he looks forward to clearing his name.

He’s accused of misconduct including offering a young woman staff member alcohol when she was underage and inviting another to his home. One of his former staff members has filed a formal complaint with the state alleging she was fired for reporting the behavior.

 

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