Monday, 19 February, 2018

California Legislature To Investigate Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Woodland Hills Lawmaker

California Legislature To Investigate Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Woodland Hills Lawmaker California Legislature To Investigate Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Woodland Hills Lawmaker
Shannon Reynolds | 06 December, 2017, 00:02

A lobbyist from the California State Capitol on Monday named a state assemblyman of the San Fernando Valley who she says sexually assaulted her.

According to Lopez, she was cornered in a bathroom as Dababneh "stood blocking the door and began to masturbate and move toward me, urging me to touch him". Dababneh unzipped his trousers and began masturbating, she said, urging her to touch him. She said the crowd included political professionals, many of whom she knew. He says such allegations never came up during Dababneh's campaigns. "I had no reason to think I was unsafe". He strongly denies the allegation.

"I've heard from enough women, that I am fearful and I am anxious that this will happen to others again", she said. He said he looks forward to clearing his name. Senate leaders stripped Sen. Tony Mendoza denies wrongdoing.

Patricia Glaser, an attorney for Dababneh, sent a cease-and-desist letter to Lopez on Friday and threatened to seek damages if she went public with her allegations. "It was a terrifying experience", she wrote. Glaser did not immediately respond to a message Monday. Hyams said that Lopez had affirmed a reporter's question about whether the event was in Sacramento because she did not wish to identify Dababneh at the time.

Lopez says she made a decision to go public with the allegations following a call by the Assembly Rules Committee for alleged victims to come forward and name names.

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Lopez detailed the encounter in a New York Times story last October, but did not name Dabeneh.

The Assembly will hire an outside law firm to investigate the claim by Lopez, a Sacramento lobbyist.

He said Dababneh was there for about 90 minutes and he was with him most of the time and does not remember him using the bathroom. He is one of the more moderate members of the Democratic caucus and a prodigious fundraiser.

The lobbyist said the Assembly Rules Committee chairman Ken Cooley urged women who have been sexually assaulted to come forward and name their perpetrators. She changed her mind after testifying last week before an Assembly committee tasked with fixing the chamber's policies for handling misconduct reports.

A former worker at the congressional office where Dababneh was the district director at the time, Jessica Yas Barker, accused him of sexual harassment in the 1 1/2 years she was an employee. She affirmed that Dababneh once opened his work area drawer to demonstrate her that it was loaded with condoms, and that he occupied with wrong touching, improper remarks about his sexual coexistence, and frequently flaunted and conversed with female partners or subordinates about his muscles and exercise schedule. "So, that the legislator can work on helping us finding safety in our workplaces and help us find some justice", Lopez said.