California Lawmaker to Step Down Over Sexual Harassment Allegations

LOS ANGELES (CN) – A California lawmaker said Monday he’ll step down as majority whip and is also suspending his re-election campaign ahead of a Los Angeles Times story detailing sexual harassment allegations against him by six women.

The Los Angeles Times’ story involves Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, D-Pacoima, and the newspaper says it informed Bocanegra’s office of its findings on Friday afternoon. The Times previously reported Bocanegra was accused by a staffer of “inappropriate and unwelcome physical contact.”

Bocanegra’s office released a statement on social media Monday morning about “a regrettable encounter” when he was a legislative staffer in 2009.

“It is because of my deep commitment to you, residents of the 39th Assembly District, that I have made the decision to resign from the state Assembly, effective Sept. 1, 2018, and immediately resign my leadership position. I am also suspending my campaign and will not run for re-election.

“It was a moment that I truly regret, that I am very sorry for, and for which I have accepted responsibility for my actions,” the statement said.

Hoping to avoid a special election to fill his seat, Bocanegra will step down at the end of the 2018 legislative session.

“I will spend this time focusing my energy on serving my constituents,” Bocanegra said in the statement. “This is a very difficult decision. But I know that it is the best decision for the northeast [San Fernando] valley residents.”

 

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