ARTESIA, CA (FOX 11) - Democratic state senator Tony Mendoza resigned his position abruptly on Thursday, amidst allegations he sexually harassed several women who previously worked for him.
Mendoza, an Artesia Democrat, said he was not given any due process, and called the investigation into the allegations a "political witch hunt" orchestrated by his former roommate and current Senate Leader Kevin De Leon in an effort to appease the "me too" movement.
"Kevin de Leon's main interest is his election to the US Senate," Mendoza said. "He wanted to make sure this was done before the Democratic convention so he could walk into the convention and say hey, here's a sacrificial lamb, I got this for you, I stand with the me too movement, we should no longer tolerate sexual harassment, and he's gonna be pushing that at the convention at my cost."
De Leon had introduced a resolution to expel Mendoza from the Senate after an independent review found that Mendoza had likely engaged in inappropriate conduct with several female staffers who worked for him years ago.
"I feel I did not get my fair shot to get my name cleared and I had to resort to a resignation because they were shooting for an expulsion, or a suspension without pay for the rest of the year," Mendoza said . "I support the me too movement.the women that came forth, I said it before and I'll say it again, I apologize. If I ever made you feel uncomfortable, in any way shape or form, I'm sorry."
And as for his relationship with De Leon.
"I trusted him, I've known him for many years, I thought we were friends," he said. "One thing you learn in politics is you never hold a grudge , I'm Catholic, I'll forgive him, but it'll be hard."
Mendoza plans to run for his same Senate seat again this year, and told FOX 11 he has already filed the necessary paperwork.
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