Sacramento’s Political Sex Predators: A Chronology of Degenerates
California Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) once said on Twitter shortly after the Harvey Weinstein revelations that "Sacramento is our own little Hollywood."
American Children First is putting together a timeline to chronicle the revelations about Sacramento's political sex predators so that you can keep track of all of the predators and degenerates in our state capitol.
As the story unfolds, more and more names and details come out making it hard to keep track of everything. Use the information below as a comprehensive resource. It will be updated as news warrants.
Sex Predator Summary
Current Elected Officials Accused of Sexual Impropriety: 4 - Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Los Angeles), Assemblyman Devon Mathis (R-Visalia), Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita), and Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia).
Former Elected Officials Accused of Sexual Impropriety: 1 - Assemblyman Steve Fox (D-Palmdale)
Staffers of Elected Officials Accused of Sexual Impropriety: 0
Non-Electeds (Party Operatives and Lobbyists) Accused of Sexual Impropriety: 1 - Tom Del Becarro (former chairman of the California Republican Party)
The Timeline: Before Harvey Weinstein (BHW)
(BHW): Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita) was accused of sexual harassing a female campaign staffer by a local blog called the "Santa Clarita, abbreviated" in October 2016.They were the first to break the story when they came into possession of an email the staffer had sent to the wife of Senator Scott Wilk (R-Antelope Valley). The original blog post read:
According to sources familiar with the matter, shortly before the June 2016 primary, Rep. Steve Knight and other Republican officials were made aware of credible allegations of sexual harassment involving a GOP campaign staffer, implicating Dante Acosta, the City of Santa Clarita Councilmember and candidate for California’s 38th Assembly District, who was an employee of Knight’s office at the time.
A local paper would pick the story up shortly after. Acosta aggressively defended himself and forcefully denied the allegations. He also held a press conference to proclaim his innocence.
The Timeline: After Harvey Weinstein
October 5: The New York Times published a story about Harvey Weinstein detailing numerous allegations of sexual assault and harassment.
October 17: The Los Angeles Times and the New York Times publish stories about a letter signed by approximately 150 women working in Sacramento who claim that the work environment is toxic and filled with predatory behavior by men.
Numerous examples of misconduct are alleged against former and current members of the legislature.
Even though the letter is signed by many high-ranking women and the articles recount stories about even how a female legislator was sexually assaulted, none of the women name any names.
October 18: Former Assemblyman Steve Fox (D-Palmdale) becomes the first legislator named in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal fallout. However, he is no longer serving in the legislature.
The California Assembly agreed to pay $100,000 to a former staffer to settle sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation claims. The Sacramento Bee reported:
"Nancy Kathleen Finnigan, who worked as Fox’s legislative director for about five months, alleged in a 2014 lawsuit that she was fired after complaining to the Assembly about inappropriate behavior by Fox, including that he exposed himself to her at his apartment."
October 19: Assemblyman Devon Mathis (R-Visalia) becomes the first sitting member of the California legislature to be accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault when American Children First published these allegations and sends a letter to the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office requesting an investigation as part of Operation Vice Corral.
October 21: California Assembly Republican Leader Brian Dahle and Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates issue a press release stating that they would support the immediate expulsion of any legislator or staffer found guilty of sexual assault.
October 23: Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon announces he has "hired the law office of Amy Oppenheimer to conduct an external investigation into harassment and assault allegations, and the consulting firm CPS HR Consulting to review Senate policies on harassment, discrimination and retaliation."
October 27: Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra becomes the first sitting legislator to have a confirmed sexual assault incident exposed to the public since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke. However, the incident in question happened before he was elected to office. The Los Angeles Times reports that it occurred while he was a chief of staff to Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes.
“And all of a sudden he was behind me, and put his hands up my blouse and down my blouse and was grabbing me,” the victim recounted to the Sacramento Bee.
October 27: Conservative activist and blogger Aaron Park alleges that Tom Del Becarro, the former chairman of the California Republican Party, was the subject of a sexual harassment lawsuit. He also alleges that Del Becarro's penchant for chasing women resulted in him having handlers assigned so as to prevent him from taking women back to his hotel room.
October 31: The ex-wife of Assemblyman Devon Mathis claimed that her husband attempted to rape her in divorce filings, according to the Valley Voice. They also reported that on numerous allegations of child abuse and neglect.
A former staffer told the Visalia Times Delta that Mathis was a bully, had a drinking problem, and balled a fist at her on one occasion when he got angry. The Times Delta also recounted the child abuse allegations.
November 9: Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), a married father of four children, reportedly pestered a young woman participating in the Senate Fellows Program and invited her back to his Sacramento home to review her resume. A home he shares with Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon.
The Sacramento Bee reports that "a week before the invitation, sources said, Mendoza had suggested the fellow could spend the night in his hotel room before an early golf tournament fundraiser at Cache Creek the next day."
The alleged victim did not speak to the publication. The paper used other sources and documentation to verify the story.
November 11: Senator Tony Mendoza is once again accused of improper conduct with a young woman. Jennifer Kwart says that when she was a 19 year old intern for Mendoza that he picked her up from the airport and took her back to his San Jose hotel room where he encouraged her to drink alcohol.
She also believed that Mendoza was expecting some sort of physical interaction that weekend so she conjured up a family emergency in order to fly back home to Southern California.
From the Sacramento Bee article:
On the elevator on their way to convention in the late afternoon, she said he told her he didn’t want to spend too much time at the convention that evening because “then we won’t have time for anything else.” She said the conversation is “burned in my brain.”
“I interpreted that to mean this guy thinks I’m going to have sex with him,” Kwart said.
November 11: Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) becomes the first member of the legislature to call out another member of the legislature when he rebukes Senator Tony Mendoza in a Facebook post:
"The Legislature needs to conduct a full, immediate and independent investigation of this matter, and there need to be real consequences. Coupled with recent allegations and continued denials, I have serious doubts about whether the Senator should continue to serve in public office."
Kudos to Assemblyman Chiu for being the first member of the legislature to call out another/refer to another member by name.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This page was last updated on November 12, 2017.