Sacramento Lobbyist Accuses Sitting Assemblymember of Sexual Assault

A Sacramento lobbyist and staffer have accused Assemblyman Matt Dababneh of lewd sex acts and inappropriate behavior. She chose to name Dababneh at the urging of California Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D), who chairs the Assembly Rules Committee.

What Lopez described at a Monday morning news conference is serious, possibly criminal, sexual misconduct. She told the Times that the surge of other women coming forward inspired her to do the same.

"I was face to face with Matt Dababneh and he had very quickly exposed himself and started masturbating", she said.

Lopez says Dababneh pushed her into a bathroom at a mutual friend's wedding celebration in Las Vegas in January 2016. He stood blocking the door and began to masturbate and move toward me, urging me to touch him.

Lopez's lawyers provided reporters with copies of a cease-and-desist letter that Patricia Glaser, chair of the litigation department at Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro, sent the lobbyist on Friday.

Dababneh, D-Van Nuys, was accused by two women.

Also last week, Lopez testified at an Assembly subcommittee hearing on sexual harassment about the alleged incident involving a state legislator.

A former worker at the congressional office where Dababneh was the district director at the time, Jessica Yas Barker, accused him of sexual harassment in the 1 1/2 years she was an employee.

Barker said on Monday that working for Dababneh was "a constant reminder that women were subordinate in all ways". Dababneh's behavior was "an open secret" in the San Fernando Valley, Barker asserted, and was the reason she made a decision to leave her job 18 months later.

Dababneh, 36, was on the staff of the John Kerry for President campaign in 2004 and was first elected to California's 45th District in 2014. "I look forward to clearing my name".

"As terrifying as it is, it's my job to do everything that I can do so that other women and other allies can do everything that they can do", she said.