SACRAMENTO (KPIX 5) — A Sacramento lobbyist and staffer have accused Assemblyman Matt Dababneh of lewd sex acts and inappropriate behavior.
Pamela Lopez said the San Fernando Valley lawmaker followed her into a bathroom and masturbated in front of her at a press conference in Sacramento on Monday.
On Friday, Assemblyman Debabneh’s lawyer sent a letter to Lopez asking her not to hold Monday’s press conference, saying, “If you proceed with your press conference or any other public statement and any false and defamatory allegation against Mr. Dababneh, you will be fully accountable in damages.”
Assemblyman Dababneh has represented the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles since 2014. Lopez did hold the press conference and told her story about a social event last year.
“I went to the restroom, and I felt a body, a large body rush up behind me, use the weight of their body to push me into the restroom and heard the door slam behind us,” said Lopez. “I spun around and realized that I was face to face with Matt Dababneh and that he had very quickly exposed himself and begun masturbating. I started backing up, and he moved toward me while he was masturbating and in explicit terms told me to touch his genitals while he was masturbating.”
Lopez wasn’t the only one at the press conference Monday. Jessica Yas Barker reported to Dababneh in his job before being elected.
“On more than one occasion, I had to listen to him regale me with stories of his sexual prowess,” said Yas Barker. “He would open his top desk drawer to reveal a storage of condoms. And once he was certain that I’d gotten a view of it, he would make a joke or smirk about it.”
Yas Barker said she believes Lopez.
“I wasn’t surprised when I heard Pamela’s story. It felt familiar to me,” said Yas Barker. “Pamela and I aren’t the only women that Matt has harassed. There are others. And I’ve spoken to them.”
A third woman told the San Francisco Chronicle that she quit working in Dababneh’s office because of his inappropriate sexual comments.
Lopez detailed the encounter in a New York Times story last October, but did not name Dababneh. She told the NYT she was “fearful of being retaliated against.”
This week’s allegations come after dozens of accusations of sexual harassment in the state Capitol from other women.
Last week, Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) resigned after several women accused him of making unwanted sexual advances.
So far Debabneh has not commented personally, but his attorney told the Los Angeles Times “These events did not happen.”