Sexual assault allegations have hit another Democrat. A top California Democrat has announced that he’s scrapping his re-election campaign and resigning his leadership post amid growing claims, reported Fox News.
California Assembly Majority Whip Raul Bocanegra announced he plans to step down next year. The decision comes after a staffer said he put his hands inside her blouse at a nightclub in 2009. The Los Angeles Times also reportedly presented him with harassment allegations from a total of six women.
Bocanegra announced he would immediately step down from his post as majority whip. In his statement, he cited “persistent rumors and speculation” over sexual harassment claims.
“I spent my life advocating for the Northeast Valley, fighting for a fair share for our communities and residents,” Bocanegra said in a statement to The Times. “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 from my leadership position.”
This is the first resignation or retirement in California tied to the wave of harassment allegations that has swept the country and implicated numerous lawmakers and candidates.
He added, “I am also suspending my campaign and will not run for re-election.”
The Times broke the initial story last month when they reported that he was disciplined in a Human Resources investigation in 2009. The female staffer accused him of “inappropriate and unwelcome physical contact” during his tenure as a chief of staff.
They were also reportedly preparing a story with the accounts of the six women and presented Bocanegra's office with those findings on Friday.
“It was a moment that I truly regret, that I am very sorry for, and for which I have accepted responsibility for my actions,” Bocanegra told the Times Monday. “These news reports have since fueled persistent rumors and speculation, and I do not believe that this is in the best interest of my constituents to continue to serve next term.”
Bocanegra is not the only Democrat to be hit with sexual assault charges. Minnesota Al Franken has been hit with two charges in the past week.