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Democratic Leader Resigns As Sexual Harassment Claims Begin To Surface

A California Assemblyman announced on Monday that he will not seek reelection in 2018 and is immediately resigning from his leadership position amid a brewing sexual harassment scandal.

Democrat Raul Bocanegra, who is the California State Assembly Majority Whip, cited “persistent rumors and speculation” regarding sexual misconduct allegations as the reason for his decision, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“I spent my life advocating for the Northeast Valley, fighting for a fair share for our communities and residents,” Bocanegra said. “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.”

The Times notes that Bocanegra’s announcement comes after the paper presented a report to his office on Friday with its findings that at least six women have accused him of sexual harassment. Bocanegra was reportedly disciplined in 2009 for “inappropriate and unwelcome physical contact” against a female staffer after an investigation.

“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. “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.”

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