Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra announced yesterday that he would resign immediately rather than serve out the remaining nine months of his term amid mounting allegations of sexual misconduct. A statement posted on his Facebook page claimed that he would not wait for the outcome of a legislative investigation into the allegations to resign. Last week, Bocanegra originally declared that he would not run for re-election next year, which was shortly before the Los Angeles Times published a story where six women accused Bocanegra of sexually harassing or assaulting them during his time as a Capitol staffer and lawmaker. Bocanegra had set his resignation date for September 1, 2018, but his legislative colleagues have placed increasing public pressure on him to step aside sooner. On his Facebook page, Bocanegra stated,
I did not want to undermine the credibility of any accusers so that each of us would have access to a fair due process. I believed in our system of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ and that the truth would come out clearing my name and reputation. But clearly, the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ has been temporarily lost in a hurricane of political opportunism among the self righteous in my case – to the detriment of both the accuser and the accused.
Several Democratic Assembly members such as Cristina Garcia (Bell Gardens), Todd Gloria (San Diego), and Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (San Diego) called on him to resign immediately. Last month, longtime Capitol staff member Elise Flynn Gyore claimed that she was groped by Bocanegra at a public event in 2009. The Assembly investigated the incident and ordered Bocanegra, then a chief of staff, to stay away from Gyore. Seven women have now come forward with experiences of sexual misconduct by Bocanegra. We will have to wait and see what will become of the allegations made against Bocanegra, but for now at least we will no longer be in office.