Carson mayor accused by daughter of Mervyn Dymally of sexual harassment

Al Robles lawsuit

Carson Mayor Al Robles, who also serves on the board of the Water Replenishment District of Southern California, has been accused by a former water district board member of sexual harassment.

(Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

The daughter of late politician Mervyn M. Dymally has accused the mayor of Carson of sexually assaulting her in a Washington, D.C., hotel room and subjecting her to sexual harassment while both served on the board of the Water Replenishment District of Southern California, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Lynn Dymally, who was appointed to the water agency board in 2013, alleged in her complaint that Albert Robles pushed her into a hotel room, tried to tear off her clothes and forced himself on top of her in November 2013.

At the time, both Dymally and Robles were attending a conference as representatives of the agency that manages groundwater for about 4.5 million residents in Los Angeles County.

In an interview Wednesday, Robles said he had not been served with the lawsuit and denied assaulting Dymally, whom he has known for more than 20 years. Robles gained his start in politics by working as an aide to Mervyn Dymally during his term in the U.S. House of Representatives.


Robles said that Lynn Dymally’s lawsuit stems from a vendetta that began when he voted against her appointment to the water board in 2013. His support for her rival during her reelection bid in 2014 further strained their relationship, he said.

“I absolutely never forced myself on her, never forced myself into her room and I never ripped off her clothes -- not her or any other woman,” Robles said. “All these allegations are false.”

Robles, an attorney, said the timing of the suit -- filed one month after he became mayor of Carson, which could soon host two NFL teams -- raised questions about Dymally’s motives.

“Why did she wait so long?” he said. “I think because she sees me as mayor of Carson, a much more high-profile position, and with all the football, she thought this was the perfect time.”


Dymally and her attorney could not be reached for comment. 

No police report has been filed by Dymally in the District of Columbia, said Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Officer Hugh Carew.

Dymally’s lawsuit centers on a trip to Washington, during which both she and Robles represented the water district at the American Leaders Water Conference, according to the complaint. After returning from dinner on the night of Nov. 3, 2013, Dymally claims Robles “forced his body on top” of her and attempted to sexually penetrate her, according to the complaint.

Later that night, Robles tried to touch her but she rebuffed his advances. The incidents have left her traumatized, the lawsuit states.

After both returned from the conference, Dymally said, Robles subjected her to bullying and harassment at Water Replenishment District board meetings, according to the complaint.

Dymally was appointed to the water agency’s board in September 2013 and served for more than a year before attorney John D. S. Allen defeated her in a November 2014 election.

The lawsuit, which also names the Water Replenishment District of Southern California as a defendant, was first reported by Los Cerritos Community News.

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