SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Four months after the #MeToo movement erupted, a bombshell from the state legislature: dozens of documents detailing sexual misconduct against more than a dozen employees at the state Capitol.
In the report, complaints about sexual harassment at the Capitol going back more than a decade.
Of the accused, some staffers were fired, while four are still in office including Assemblymembers Travis Allen and Autumn Burke, and state Sens. Tony Mendoza and Bob Hertzberg,
The California Women’s Caucus applauded the transparency saying it “enables the culture change we must have in our Capitol.”
Back in January, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and speaker Anthony Rendon pledged to release documents related to sexual harassment claims that have been substantiated.
The documents contain large redacted sections, omitting the names of the accusers. Eighteen complaints include making sexually explicit jokes, discussing illegal sex acts, inappropriate touching and using a state computer to access X-rated sites.
One complaint names Assemblymember Travis Allen, currently running for governor. It alleges the Allen put “both hands” on a woman’s “shoulders and gave them a squeeze.”
Allen’s response in the Los Angeles Times said, in part: “I’m sure I’ve shaken many people’s hands, tapped many people on the shoulder. But there has never been anything in any of my actions that has been inappropriate.”
Another candidate for governor, Delaine Eastin called Allen “a known predator” on Twitter and said he should drop out of the race.
Assemblywoman Autumn Burke is also named, accused of discussing anal sex with a coworker.
But Burke said in a statement it was “an after-hours conversation” with a staff member and believes “the complaint was motivated by a staff member’s anger over being terminated.”
CBS 13 took a look at the investigation process in the assembly. Every report is documented and addressed, but only some require a formal investigation. That’s determined and processed through an independent fact finder. Based on the evidence, the Rules Committee can recommend sexual harassment counseling or formal discipline including a reprimand or expulsion.
Christine Pelosi, the chair of the California Democratic Party Women’s Caucus, tweeted calling the list incomplete, saying there are more victims, enablers, and perpetrators.