California state Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, the majority whip of the California state assembly, announced his plan to resign at the end of his legislative term, citing sexual harassment allegations against him, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Bocanegra, who suspended his campaign for re-election, as well, said in a statement: “I spent my life advocating for the Northeast Valley, fighting for a fair share for our communities and residents. 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 September 1, 2018, and immediately resign my leadership position. I am also suspending my campaign and will not run for re-election.”
Reportedly, the Times was about to publish a story accusing Bocanegra of sexually harassing six women. After asking the assemblyman’s office for a statement on Friday afternoon, Bocanegra said he would call for the Assembly Rules Committee to investigate the claims.
“I believe rather than adjudicate these allegations in media reports, there should be a formal investigation into these matters,” the paper reports him as saying. “I am committed to full cooperation.”
Bocanegra will remain in office until the end of the term, in order to save the state from “another costly special election” and to “ensure our community is not left without any representation in the State Assembly.”
The Times also reported on Bocanegra in October, noting that he was disciplined for a 2009 incident. In that incident, a capitol staffer alleged he had engaged in “inappropriate and unwelcome physical contact” with them.
According to the Times, there is a “pervasive” culture of sexual harassment within California politics.