wnol.info July 23 2018

Two Women Accuse California Asm. Matt Dababneh Of Sexual Harassment

July 23 2018, 12:08 | Van Peters

Rich Pedroncelli Associated Press

Matthew Dababneh

A Sacramento lobbyist has accused Assemblymember Matt Dababneh of sexual assault.

Sacramento lobbyist Pamela Lopez said in a Sacramento news conference that Dababneh pushed her into a bathroom during a 2016 party at a Las Vegas hotel and masturbated in front of her.

The allegations came after weeks of rumors about Dababneh as cases of sexual harassment have come to light in California politics and other industries.

Lopez initially declined to name Dababneh when she described the encounter to Capital Public Radio and others earlier this fall.

"Ken Cooley urged women who have been sexually harassed within the California political community to step forward and speak to the legislature and seek redress through their process", Lopez said at a Monday press conference.

A second woman has also stepped forward with her own allegations of inappropriate behavior.

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"It was Matt Dababneh", Lopez told The Times in a November interview. But she didn't identify Dababneh as the legislator until Monday. "He told me to touch his genitals while he was masturbating".

Lopez's attorney said her client was sent a cease and desist letter on Friday, trying to prevent Monday's announcement.

"Mr. Dababneh unequivocally denies the occurrence of the incident of sexual harassment that you allege, or any other act of sexual harassment by him against you, at any time", his lawyer wrote.

Dababneh, D-Van Nuys, was accused by two women.

A former worker at the congressional office where Dababneh was the district director at the time, Jessica Yas Barker, accused him of sexual harassment in the 1 1/2 years she was an employee.

Dababneh, 36, was on the staff of the John Kerry for President campaign in 2004 and was first elected to California's 45th District in 2014.

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