SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — “We have a whisper network you all know it. Because what everybody here knows is we have rapists here in this building. We have molesters among us,” said Christine Pelosi.
The head of the California Democratic Party’s Women’s Caucus says no one knows about those alleged abusers, because of a deficient system for reporting harassment.
“Isn’t that problematic,” said Vince Fong.
The problem, Assemblyman Vince Fong says, is the Capitol’s human resources department doesn’t record complaints of harassment involving current lawmakers.
Human resources administrators confirmed cases of misconduct are kept secret.
“Those records may have existed they don’t exist,” said one administrator.
The hearing comes two days after Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, resigned. He was accused by seven staffers of groping and unwanted advances.
State Sen. Tony Mendoza was stripped of his leadership positions at the state’s powerful banking committee. His former interns say he behaved inappropriately at work-related outings.
One of them, just 19 at the time, shared her story with lawmakers.
“I did not report my situation what happened to me for a variety of reasons. My age. The fact that I was an intern. Fear of what it could do to my future career prospects,” said former intern Jennifer Kwart.
That fear of retaliation also stopped Sacramento Lobbyist Pamela Lopez from coming forward with her painful experience, until recently.
“I was forcibly pushed into a bathroom before a powerful colleague who in this case happens to be a lawmaker and began masturbating,” she recalled.
The details are graphic, but she tells the story over and over, in hopes of inspiring other women.
“The time is now to step forward so they can be a part of changing our culture,” said Lopez.
Some lawmakers say the only way to do that is by identifying those so-called perpetrators.
“Enforcers and enablers in this building,” said Pelosi.
What’s unclear is whether those women will name names.
What is clear, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say they’re committed to fixing the flawed system.
The next hearing is set for in January when we’ll hear recommendations for change.