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Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra announces he will resign next year as Times prepares report on new sexual harassment allegations

Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra announced he will not seek reelection Monday, citing “persistent rumors and speculation” regarding sexual harassment claims.

“I spent my life advocating for the Northeast Valley, fighting for a fair share for our communities and residents,” Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) said in a statement. “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.” 

SPECIAL REPORT: As sexual harassment in politics investigations widen, California Assemblyman accused by six new women

The statement came as The Times was preparing a story reporting that six women had accused him of sexual harassment. The paper presented its findings to Bocanegra’s office Friday afternoon.

The Times reported last month that in 2009, Bocanegra was disciplined in a human resources investigation. A female Capitol staffer accused Bocanegra, then a chief of staff, of “inappropriate and unwelcome physical contact.”

“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 Monday of the 2009 incident. “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.”

Bocanegra said he decided to resign at the end of the legislative term in order to avoid a “another costly special election in Los Angeles and ensure our community is not left without any representation in the State Assembly.”

Regarding the allegations brought to Bocanegra by The Times, the assemblyman said he was "requesting that the Assembly Rules Committee investigate the allegations that have recently been brought to my attention.”

“I believe rather than adjudicate these allegations in media reports, there should be a formal investigation into these matters,” he wrote. “I am committed to full cooperation.”  

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