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Top California Dem cites rumors of sexual harassment claims in announcing resignation

Top California Dem cites rumors of sexual harassment claims in announcing resignation
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The Democratic majority whip of the California State Assembly announced his resignation on Monday, citing "persistent rumors" of sexual misconduct.

“I spent my life advocating for the Northeast Valley, fighting for a fair share for our communities and residents,” Raul Bocanegra said in a statement reported by the Los Angeles Times.

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“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.” 

The newspaper said it contacted Bocanegra's office last Friday regarding allegations by six women who claimed they had been harassed by the state lawmaker.

“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 told the Los Angeles Times on Monday.

Bocanegra added that that he has asked California’s Assembly Rules Committee to investigate the accusations.

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

The newspaper last month reported that the state lawmaker had been penalized following a 2009 investigation into a woman’s claims that Bocanegra touched her inappropriately.