Sexual harassment allegations continued to roil the California political landscape Monday, as one Democratic legislator announced his immediate resignation and another was stripped of key posts by his colleagues.
The dramatic developments set the stage for the first legislative examination of the issue since it engulfed the state Capitol six weeks ago. The focus on sexual harassment — propelled by high-profile allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo social media movement — began with an open letter from more than 140 women denouncing a “pervasive” culture of misconduct in state government. The missive did not identify any legislators or others accused of misbehavior.
In the weeks since, women came forward with allegations of inappropriate behavior by both Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra and state Sen. Tony Mendoza.
Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) submitted his resignation Monday morning, one week after The Times reported that six women had accused the legislator of unwanted physical advances or unwelcome communications. He is the first lawmaker to step down amid the current climate of heightened scrutiny over sexual harassment.
Less than an hour after Bocanegra resigned, a Senate committee voted to suspend Mendoza (D-Artesia) from leadership positions, including a powerful committee chairmanship, pending the outcome of an external investigation into sexual harassment allegations made by three women.