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Lawmaker gets disciplined after sexual harassment allegations

An assemblyman from the Los Angeles-area has been accused of sexual harassment related to an incident that happened in 2009. Allegedly, the man put his hands down the blouse of a fellow legislative staffer. However, the incident did not become public until last Friday.

Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra has become the first member of the currently-sitting California legislature to face accusations of sexual harassment after allegations that the California Capitol maintains a pervasive culture of sexual harassment. Women are now being asked to share the stories of what they've been forced to endure on the job.

Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra responded to the allegations, saying that he wanted to apologize sincerely that he put someone into such a difficult position. Allegedly, the man approached the woman during an after-work gathering at a nightclub in Sacramento. He then put his hands down her blouse. At the time, Bocanegra served as the chief of staff for Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes. The woman further stated that Bocanegra had been following her during the event, so she decided to leave the party, and asked a friend to accompany her, fearful that he would pursue her to her car.

The Assembly conducted an investigation that included interviews with Bocanegra, the victim and 13 others. A June 2009 letter reveals the Assembly's conclusion that Bocanegra conducted himself inappropriately and unprofessionally. However, the investigation was shielded from laws related to public disclosure, which is why it has remained secret for so long.

Incidents like the one described above are unlawful, and victims of such sexually inappropriate behavior and sexual assault have the right to make their abuse stop. They may also have the right to pursue financial damages for the injuries their abuse has caused.

Source: Mercury News, "California lawmaker disciplined for sexual harassment," Oct. 27, 2017

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