Anti-vaccine protester accused of throwing blood at California lawmakers is charged with two felonies

Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) inspects a jacket she was wearing just after it was splashed with a red liquid from a protester in the balcony of the Senate chambers.
State Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) inspects a jacket she was wearing just after it was splashed with blood from a protester in the balcony of the Senate chamber.
(Patrick McGreevy / Los Angeles Times)

An anti-vaccine protester who allegedly threw a menstrual cup filled with blood onto California state senators last year has been charged with two felonies, according to court records.

Rebecca Dalelio, 43, has been charged with one felony count of assault on a public official and one felony count of vandalism. If convicted, she could face up to three years in county jail.

The charges stem from a September incident in which Dalelio allegedly threw blood contained in a feminine hygiene device off the balcony of the Senate chamber’s visitors gallery and onto senators sitting below. The incident occurred on the final day of the 2019 legislative session and was suspected to be in protest of legislation signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom that week that limited exemptions for childhood vaccinations.


The complaint lists 10 senators whom Dalelio is accused of assaulting. The count of vandalism refers to a separate offense that involves graffiti, though additional details were not immediately available, according to Sacramento County district attorney’s office spokeswoman Shelly Orio. At the time of the incident, California Highway Patrol officers said a bathroom near the Senate chamber was found to have writing on the wall.

The fluid hit multiple people and splashed onto desks and the carpet, forcing the chamber to be cleared. As the contents of the cup were thrown, a voice in the crowd was heard saying the action was “for the dead babies.”

Some lawmakers left to shower and at least one legislator was treated for blood exposure the next day. Senators moved to a nearby hearing room hours later, and worked until 3 a.m.

“A crime was committed today, but the Senate will not be deterred from conducting the people’s business,” Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) said as she reconvened the Senate after the incident.

Dalelio was booked at the time into Sacramento County Jail on six charges, including assault, vandalism and disorderly conduct. She was released the following morning, and the California Highway Patrol conducted a lengthy investigation.


Dalelio, a resident of Boulder Creek south of San Jose, was among dozens of protesters who were inside the state Capitol to oppose a pair of bills signed by Newsom to impose new oversight of childhood vaccine exemptions. The vaccine legislation sparked weeks of intense protests over the summer in Sacramento, with hundreds packing hearing rooms to voice their opposition. In August, an anti-vaccine activist accosted Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), who wrote the bill, near the Capitol.

The protests have continued in much smaller numbers as the Legislature reconvened this week, though no new vaccine bills have been introduced.

Dalelio is scheduled to appear for an arraignment on Monday.