Eighteen alleged cases of sexual harassment, ranging from sharing of pornographic photos to a staff member accused of grabbing a woman’s buttocks and genitals, were publicly disclosed by the California Legislature on Friday, detailed through investigation records that had been shielded in some cases for more than a decade.
Of the lawmakers named in the documents, four currently hold office: Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), state Sens. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) and Assemblywoman Autumn Burke (D-Marina del Rey). Also named was former Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima), who resigned last year after facing allegations of harassment by multiple women.
The documents, which include complaints since 2006 against five lawmakers and 10 senior staff members, were provided after three months of requests from Los Angeles Times reporters and attorneys. In all, there were 79 allegations: 62 claims filed in the Assembly about lawmakers or staff, in some cases about the same individuals, and 17 claims filed in the state Senate. The records provide the most detailed information, to date, of workplace sexual misconduct investigations at the Capitol in Sacramento and legislative district offices across the state.
The disclosures mark a major departure from the tradition of the Legislature, which rarely grants access to information about its internal operations. The documents also underscore the wide range of behavior that falls under the umbrella of sexual harassment, from bawdy office banter to unwanted propositions or uninvited touching.
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