Women Working in California’s Capitol Speak Out on Harassment in Politics After Years of Whispers

It started with a dinner invitation from a former assemblyman more than twice her age. He had offered his services as a mentor, but his hand reaching for her knee under the table revealed other intentions. Then came the late-night phone calls and unexpected appearances at events she had to attend for her job in the Capitol.

Tina McKinnor, left, Sadalia King, Amy Thoma Tan, Jodi Hicks and Sabrina Lockhart have shared their experiences with sexual harassment in California's Capitol. (Credit: Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Tina McKinnor, left, Sadalia King, Amy Thoma Tan, Jodi Hicks and Sabrina Lockhart have shared their experiences with sexual harassment in California’s Capitol. (Credit: Myung Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Fresh out of college, Amy Brown did what she thought women were supposed to do in these situations — she reported him. The former assemblyman accused her of slander, an experience that left her so humiliated that she left Sacramento for a new job in San Jose.

“I immediately got the hell out of town,” Brown said. “I felt like the people — the person — I was relying on for advancement in my career was preying on me.”

Stories like these have taken many forms through the years. Sometimes it’s a professional meeting that turned inappropriately sexual, or it’s a groping hand on a backside. In one case, a woman said a lawmaker masturbated in front of her in a bar bathroom.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.