California Assemblyman Matt Dababneh is resigning, just days after one woman accused him of sexual assault and another of sexual harassment.
The assemblyman’s resignation – effective January 1 – comes despite the fact he’s still denying the allegations.
“To be absolutely clear, the allegations made against me are not true,” Dababneh says in his resignation letter. “However, due to the current environment, I, unfortunately, no longer believe I can serve my district effectively.”
Dababneh says he’ll continue to cooperate with the Assembly’s investigation – and that despite what he calls the “salacious headlines,” he’s confident he’ll be found innocent.
On Monday, Sacramento lobbyist Pamela Lopez accused Dababneh of forcing her into a restroom and masturbating in front of her. A second woman, Jessica Yas Barker, said Dababneh sexually harassed her when they worked together in Rep. Brad Sherman's congressional district office.
“We are most concerned at this point that the Assembly takes action, to ensure there is no retaliation,” says Oakland attorney Jean Hyams, who represents the two women. “They have done something incredibly courageous and Miss Lopez, in particular, as a lobbyist in Sacramento, is vulnerable to retaliation.”
Dababneh is the third California lawmaker to be named as part of sexual harassment allegations in and around the state Capitol. Former Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra resigned last week, and state Sen. Tony Mendoza remains in office.
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