SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The California legislature released a scathing 57-page, heavily redacted report detailing sexual harassment investigations going back 10 years.
Claims of sexual harassment were already being investigated against three lawmakers:
- Assemblyman Matt Dababneh and Raul Bocanegra – who both resigned.
- Sen. Tony Mendoza – who is on an indefinite leave of absence.
The document names 18 California lawmakers, four of them still in office.
One is Republican gubernatorial candidate Assemblyman Travis Allen. He’s accused of inappropriately touching one of his staffers. The report says that during a briefing when she was sitting next to him, “He slid his foot over so that it was touching hers.”
According to the documents: he “did not recall the complaint.”
And late Friday, his office released a statement denying the allegations and arguing their release was politically motivated.
The documents also identify two familiar names: Sens. Tony Mendoza and Bob Hertzberg, still under investigation for harassment.
Assemblywoman Autumn Burke also admitted to participating in an “inappropriate conversation about anal sex with office staff,” the documents say.
Her office released a statement Friday saying, “This claim involved an after-hours conversation in which my staff member shared a personal story about his experiences as a young gay man with me and a group of co-workers. The claim was filed by a disgruntled former staff member who participated in the conversation. When this claim was brought to my attention, I took full responsibility for my part.”
“This can’t be representative of what’s been going on in that environment,” said attorney Mary Alice Coleman.
Coleman has litigated harassment complaints at the Capitol.
She says the redacted records don’t provide a full scope of harassment.
She also sees a pattern:
“There’s very little action. And if you looked at the documents you’d think there are very few complaints,” she said.
The speaker’s office decided to release these documents last month, following mounting pressure from women’s rights advocates. One of them, Christine Pelosi, accused the legislature of harboring “rapists.”
Pelosi, counsel for the We Said Enough campaign tweeted her disappointed reaction:
“#CAleg released an incomplete set of documents there is more. Victims. Enablers. And Perpetrators know it. Voters deserve the complete list of current officeholders ever accused. #dobetter