Assemblyman accused of domestic violence removed from leadership post

by Matt Fleming | July 2, 2016 5:18 am

imgresSpeaker Anthony Rendon on Friday finally took action against a lawmaker accused of domestic violence by removing him from his committee assignments, which included a committee chairmanship.

The Paramount Democrat’s move follows a court order for Assemblyman Roger Hernández to stay away from his wife for three years from whom he is getting divorced early Friday, as well as a particularly harsh editorial by the Sacramento Bee that same day.

Hernández, a West Covina Democrat, had been under slowly increasing pressure[1] since mid-April when the allegations of domestic violence surfaced.

Days after the allegations surfaced, members of the women’s caucus[2], led by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, called for Hernández to step down. Rendon had been reluctant to take action until the allegations were “more fully validated.”

“Today, after a thorough process, the judge reviewing the allegations against Assemblymember Roger Hernández stated that she found those allegations credible,” Rendon said in a statement. “Assemblymember Hernández has problems in his personal life that need to be addressed, and he should focus on resolving them.”

Hernández was ordered to stay at least 100 yards from his wife, Susan Rubio, her home and her workplace until 2019, and 15 feet away from her at public events, according to the Los Angeles Times[3].

Following Rendon’s announcement, the women’s caucus vice chair, Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, expressed her gratitude for the move.

@AssemblyDems[4] @Rendon63rd[5] TY for your leadership.

— Cristina Garcia (@AsmGarcia) July 2, 2016[6]

Sac Bee Editorial

On Friday morning, the Sacramento Bee Editorial Board called it a “low blow” when Hernández killed a bill sponsored by Jackson last week to help new parents for what seemed to be retribution for the women’s caucus’ demands that he step down.

The Bee echoed what observers at the time alleged[7] when Hernández, the Labor and Employment Committee chairman, killed a scaled-down version of a bill he previously supported by abstaining to vote and bringing enough others along with him.

The bill would have expanded access to family leave, a program funded by automatic deductions from the worker’s paycheck, explained The Bee, adding its skepticism of Hernández’s explanation of his change of heart — that he now needed to be “cognizant of the cumulative burden of these provisions, particularly of small businesses.”

“Whatever that means,” wrote The Bee[8].

Rendon too

The Bee also aimed at Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, a Hernández ally who, as speaker, determines committee assignments and failed to assign any women to the committee. 

“Vote-ducking is cowardly and political payback should be reserved for politicians,” wrote The Bee. “But blame also goes to Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon who oversees committee assignments. How can a committee that handles every piece of workplace legislation in California have not one woman?”

Rendon did not immediately announce who would take over the chairmanship or if a woman would fill Hernández’s seat on the committee.

Allegations against Hernández

Rubio, Hernández’s wife and a Baldwin Park City Council member, previously accused him of assaulting her 20 times over a three-year period. In divorce court last month, Rubio detailed eight alleged incidents[9] that included being choked with a belt, being beat with a broom while on the ground and being threatened with a knife after having been accused of an affair. 

No charges have been filed against Hernández.

Hernández is termed out of the Assembly. He had hoped to win a seat in Congress held by fellow-Democrat Grace Napolitano, but failed to advance from the primary. Hernández recently blamed his primary failure on Rubio[10]. 

Past allegations

Hernández has been accused of wrongdoing before. In 2012, an ex-girlfriend accused him[11] of domestic violence, although charges were never filed due to insufficient evidence. 

That same year, Hernández was arrested for drunk driving in a state vehicle[12], but was acquitted by a jury on one charge, while the jury was hung on another. 

And in 2015, allegations of political money laundering[13] against Hernández were dropped by the Fair Political Practices Commission after two key witnesses were unable to testify — one had serious medical issues while the other had passed away. 

  1. slowly increasing pressure:
  2. members of the women’s caucus:
  3. Los Angeles Times:
  4. @AssemblyDems:
  5. @Rendon63rd:
  6. July 2, 2016:
  7. observers at the time alleged:
  8. wrote The Bee:
  9. detailed eight alleged incidents:
  10. blamed his primary failure on Rubio:
  11. an ex-girlfriend accused him:
  12. Hernández was arrested for drunk driving in a state vehicle:
  13. allegations of political money laundering:

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