Assemblyman Matt Dababneh Resigns Following Sexual Assault Allegations

Assemblyman Matt Dababneh (D-Woodland Hills), at right, talks with colleagues in 2015. (Max Whittaker/CALmatters)

California Assemblyman Matt Dababneh (D-Woodland Hills) is resigning effective Jan. 1.

He sent his resignation letter to Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon on Friday.

Dababneh has been accused by two women of sexual harassment and assault.

Lobbyist Pamela Lopez says Dababneh pushed her into a restroom and masturbated in front of her while they were attending a party for mutual friends in Las Vegas in 2016. Democratic activist Jessica Yas Barker says Dababneh repeatedly harassed her while she worked with him in a congressional district office in 2008.

In his letter Dababneh denies the allegations. But he says he can no longer serve his district effectively. He says he will still cooperate with the Assembly Rules Committee investigation into the complaints.

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In a statement,  Rendon says Dababneh's resignation is a sign the Capitol culture is changing.

"The Assembly will continue our work to hasten that change, to make the Legislature an institution where people are safe, survivors are helped, and perpetrators are held accountable," Rendon said.

But Pamela Lopez says there's still work to do.

"Matt Debabneh's resignation does nothing to make whole and restore the women he hurt," she says. "(He) is just one example of a man who abused his power to hurt others, but he's not the only one."

Lopez says the focus must remain on supporting and protecting victims of sexual harassment.

Debabneh is the second assemblyman to resign following sexual harassment allegations.

In November, Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) announced his resignation after multiple women accused him of inappropriate behavior.

State Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) has been stripped of his leadership positions as the Senate investigates harassment claims against him.

In October, more than 140 women signed a letter condemning an atmosphere of sexual harassment and assault in the Capitol community. Lobbyist Adama Iwu, who started the letter, was recently featured on the cover of Time Magazine's Person of the Year issue, along with several other women who have spoken out against sexual harassment.

Read the full text of Dababneh's resignation letter:

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