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 said several times, 'No, I will not touch you.
A Sacramento lobbyist has accused Assemblymember Matt Dababneh of sexual assault.
Sherman issued a statement saying he had no knowledge of inappropriate behavior by Dababneh and that he was "surprised and saddened" to hear that Barker felt uncomfortable while working in the office.
"It was pretty much an open secret in the San Fernando Valley that this is how Matt behaved", Barker said. "Unfortunately, it was largely brushed off". At the time, she refused to say who it was, but said she was persuaded to come forward to protect other women after an Assembly hearing last week on sexual harassment policies. In her letter, Lopez wrote that before the January ordeal ended, he told her not to tell anyone.
He is the third sitting lawmaker to be investigated by the Legislature over sexual misconduct allegations since almost 150 women at the Capitol came forward in October to allege pervasive harassment in state government.
Lopez on Monday filed a complaint against Dababneh with the Assembly Rules Committee, telling reporters she waited nearly two years to act out of fear of retaliation and mistrust of the legislature's system for handling sexual harassment claims. "And I can't have it on my conscious that this may happen again". Matt Dababneh sexually harassed them, including one who says the lawmaker accosted her in a bar bathroom and masturbated in front of her. She said the crowd included political professionals, many of whom she knew. As she went to use a restroom, a "large body" rushed up behind her and pushed her into the room, she said.
"I was hurt and scared", Lopez said. "I started backing up and he moved toward me while he was masturbating and in explicit terms told me to touch his genitals".
"It was a terrifying experience". "I am putting this in the hands of the lawmakers who have told me they will act to protect me".
Assemblyman Matt Dababneh, a Los Angeles Democrat, worked in Sherman's district office until being elected to the Legislature in 2013. He noted that the layout of the room where the party was held would make it hard for any such incident to go unnoticed.
Lopez, a lobbyist who works for K Street Consulting, had signed the letter and shared an account of the alleged assault in the New York Times at the time.
As it has in Hollywood and across the country, sexual harassment has become a hot topic in Sacramento, with legislative leaders vowing to crack down on misconduct.
Last week, Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) resigned after several women accused him of making unwanted sexual advances. Tony Mendoza denies wrongdoing.