Sacramento lobbyist names state assemblyman she says assaulted her in a bathroom
06 December, 2017, 00:00 | Author: Elena Meyer
"This is the kind of tactic that frequently follows when men in positions of power with great amounts of resources learn that their behavior may be exposed", she said. "What do I do, what do I do?'" she said. "I had no reason to think I was unsafe".
Dababneh, 36 and not married, has stepped aside as chairman of the Assembly's Banking and Finance Committee while the allegation is under investigation.
"I was up close and personal with Matt Dababneh and he had immediately uncovered himself and began jerking off", she said.
A high-profile effort to reform the way the California Assembly deals with sexual harassment is picking up steam as more revelations of misconduct by elected officials come to light. Last week, Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, D-Pacoima, resigned in response to harassment allegations by a series of women. Senate leaders stripped Sen. Dababneh's legal team sent her a cease and desist letter last Friday, calling her claims against him "false".
"As terrifying as it is, it's my job to do everything that I can do so that other women and other allies can do everything that they can do", she said.
He also noted Dababneh "has been in several contentious political races" and that in none "did his political opponents, some of whom had professional opposition researchers, allege anything regarding sexual harassment in their mailings, handouts, or advertisements". 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 had previously shared her story of being harassed, but had not publicly named Dababneh until Monday, when she filed a complaint with the California State Assembly. In previous weeks, Lopez had recounted what happened to her to several news outlets but did not name her alleged attacker.
The Assembly will hire an outside law firm to investigate the claim by Lopez, a Sacramento lobbyist.
A friend of Dababneh, Ken Maxey, told The Times he was with the assemblyman at the party for a "majority" of the night, and does not recall him ever using the bathroom. He is one of the more moderate members of the Democratic caucus and a prodigious fundraiser. And her case links this mess to Rep. Brad Sherman.
Former Capitol staffer Jessica Yas Barker was also present at Monday's press conference, and said Dababneh regularly made inappropriate comments.
Barker went on to say that Dababneh "would open his top desk drawer to reveal a storage of condoms". Barker said she did not meet Lopez until a campaign to change the legislature's sexual harassment policies, called We Said Enough, formed in October.
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Lopez said Dababneh started moving toward her and "told me to touch his genitals" in explicit terms.
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