WOODLAND HILLS—State assemblyman Matt Dababneh, the representative of Woodland Hills and the western San Fernando Valley has stepped down after being accused of sexual harassment.
Dababneh handed in his letter of resignation on Friday, December 8. Dababneh, who was accused of sexual harassment by two women in the past few weeks, defended himself in the letter, stating, “To be clear, the allegations made against me are not true.” He calls the allegations “salacious” and adds “I am confident that the completed investigation will bring into light and into focus the significant and persuasive evidence of my innocence.” Dababneh states “due to the current environment,” he can no longer serve his district “effectively.”
Dababneh was accused of sexual harassment by Sacramento lobbyist Pamela Lopez during a press conference with another woman Dababneh allegedly harassed. During the conference, Lopez explained that she met the assemblyman at a Las Vegas party in 2016. During the encounter, he reportedly followed her into a bathroom, closed the door behind them and, in Lopez’s words, “unzipped his pants and exposed himself and begun to masturbate.” Dababneh allegedly asked Lopez to touch his genitals and, when she refused, to touch him anywhere, he ejaculated into the toilet. Lopez called the entire experience “terrifying.”
Jessica Yas Barker, the other woman speaking at the conference, worked with Dababneh at U.S. Representative Brad Sherman’s San Fernando Valley District Office. She indicated he would tell her of his sexual exploits and comment on her appearance. At one point, Barker claimed, Dababneh told her to not dress “like such a lesbian.”
Dababneh’s resignation will come into effect January 1, 2018. Due to his loss, the Democrats in the state assembly will no longer have a two-thirds supermajority. legislative rules without Republican votes. Assembly speaker Anthony Rendon released a statement to the public.
“Matt Dababneh’s resignation is yet another sign that the 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,” said Rendon.