November 27, 2017 / 10:27 PM / 2 years ago

California lawmaker resigns after media report of sexual harassment

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - California lawmaker Raul Bocanegra resigned from the state assembly on Monday, a week after local media reported that six women had accused him of sexual harassment, while denying any criminal wrongdoing.

On Nov. 20 the Los Angeles Times published a report in which the women accused Bocanegra of groping or harassing them.

Previously, the newspaper reported that Bocanegra had been disciplined by the state for inappropriate behavior in 2009.

Reuters has not independently confirmed the allegations. Bocanegra’s staff did not immediately reply to Reuters requests for comment.

Bocanegra, a Democrat, wrote on Facebook on Nov. 20, “News stories were reported a few weeks ago about a regrettable encounter when I was a legislative staffer in 2009. 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 said in the post that he planned to resign from the legislature at the end of the session in September 2018.

In a statement posted on Monday on that Facebook page, Bocanegra wrote that he was resigning from the State Assembly effective immediately. “While I am not guilty of any such crimes, I am admittedly not perfect,” he wrote.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon confirmed in an emailed statement that Bocanegra had resigned.

Legislatures in several states are grappling with claims of sexual harassment and abuse. Bocanegra’s resignation came a day before the California statehouse is scheduled to begin hearings on sexual harassment.

Reporting by Sharon Bernstein

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