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California

Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo and top aide reprimanded for workplace behavior

Wendy Carrillo
Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo, seen here in 2017, was reprimanded on Thursday for “unwelcome” conduct by Assembly officials, a complaint alleging the Democrat hugged and kissed an employee. Carrillo’s chief of staff was admonished for “inappropriate sexual comments.”
(Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press)

The speaker of the California Assembly has reprimanded Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) and her chief of staff, George Esparza, for inappropriate workplace conduct, citing allegations that the Democratic lawmaker hugged and kissed an employee and that her top aide made “inappropriate sexual comments.”

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) admonished Carrillo and Esparza in letters released on Friday by legislative officials. Following a series of well-publicized investigations into lawmakers and staff members in 2016, the Legislature now makes public information related to sexual misconduct investigations of legislators and employees.

But few details about the alleged incidents were released. The letter sent to Carrillo states that “a complaint that you hugged and kissed, on the cheek” was filed and that an investigation concluded the incident occurred and “that this conduct was unwelcome.” A heavily redacted investigation report alleges that Carrillo was “insisting on a two-arm hug” at two different events and kissed the employee on the cheek.

Rendon’s letter to Esparza cites two instances of sexual comments. The investigation document states that in one encounter, Esparza was alleged to have asked someone “are you done masturbating?”

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Neither Carrillo nor Esparza responded to a request for comment from The Times.

The allegations involve two different employees — one who filed a complaint against the lawmaker, the other against her chief of staff. Both Carrillo and Esparza were determined to have violated the Legislature’s policy on workplace conduct. Rendon said that Assembly officials will provide “training and/or coaching on appropriate workplace conduct.”

Carrillo, 39, was elected to the Assembly in 2017. A former radio host and organized labor activist, she traveled with Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2019 to El Salvador, the country she left with her parents as a child. Bills she wrote to combat discrimination against those with mental health problems and immigrant rights were signed into law by Newsom last year.


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