California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) has asked Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) to take a leave of absence while sexual harassment claims against Mendoza are investigated.
De León says complaints of inappropriate touching by Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) are also being investigated, though he did not ask Hertzberg to take a leave of absence.
"Given the severity of the allegations against Sen. Mendoza, I do not believe he can perform (his) duties in Sacramento while the investigation is being conducted," de León says. "I'm not prepared to say that about any other member right now."
Mendoza issued a statement this evening resisting de León's request.
"I am very disappointed that certain Senate Rules Committee members are apparently asking me to take a leave of absence or resign before an investigation has even begun and without giving me an opportunity to defend myself, " Mendoza said in a statement. He goes on to say he was not appointed to his position, but elected and he will vigorously defend himself.