WOODLAND HILLS—Matt Dababneh, 36, an assemblyman who represents Woodland Hills and the western San Fernando Valley, has been accused of sexual harassment.
Sacramento lobbyist Pamela Lopez has accused the assemblyman of sexually harassing her at a 2016 party in Las Vegas. Lopez said that the incident occurred on January 16, when she met Dababneh at a party to celebrate their mutual friend’s wedding. The party had around 50 other elected officials in attendance including other assembly members from California. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Lopez explained that she had only exchanged “three to four sentences” with the assemblyman before the incident.
Lopez went to the bathroom and reportedly felt presence follow her in, saying “the weight of that body was pushing me into the restroom. I heard the door slam behind me.” When the door shut, she turned around and found Dababneh behind her. According to Lopez, his pants were down and Dababneh “had unzipped his pants and exposed himself and had begun to masturbate.” Dababneh reportedly asked her to touch his genitals and, when she refused, [he] begged her to touch him anywhere. She refused and he ejaculated into the toilet. According to Lopez, the whole incident occurred in less than five minutes.
Lopez admitted to drinking that night, but assured that she remembered the incident in detail. She told the LA Times that she remembered “thinking, at the very least, make it very clear you don’t want to be here.” She thought “don’t say anything to allow him to misinterpret your refusal as you being shy or coquettish.” After the incident Lopez reported that Dababneh felt regret and asked her to never tell anyone and, in exchange, she asked him to do the same. Lopez called the whole thing “a terrifying experience.”
Dababneh friend, Ken Maxey, defended his friend with the LA Times. He said that it was not likely that Dababneh had gone to the bathroom with her, and that he had seen him talk to her, but did not seem him use the restroom.
Lopez came forward with the incident a year ago, but did not reveal who the assemblyman was or where the event transpired until this year. She is not the first woman to accuse Matt Dababneh of inappropriate behavior. At a press conference at Lopez’s office in Sacramento, Jessica Yas Barker accused the assemblyman. She indicated that while working with Dababneh at U.S. Representative Brad Sherman’s San Fernando Valley District Office, he would oftentimes tell her of his sexual exploits. Parker indicated that Dababneh would comment on her appearance as well and, at one point, told her not to dress like “such a lesbian.” At one point, she says, Dababneh took her to his desk and showed her a drawer full of condoms. Parker claims she quit because of the strange treatment.
Dababneh’s lawyer, Patricia Glaser, sent a letter to Lopez saying “this letter is written to give you formal notice that 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 this time.” Dababneh denies all other accusations against him as well.
He has been a government official since January 2014. He co-authored a controversial bill that would have prevented a city from determining where to place its technology.