A small group of about a dozen demonstrators gathered outside of Congressman Tony
Cardenas’ field office in Van Nuys on Monday, May 21, calling for his resignation.
An L.A. Superior Court judge ruled last week that there is “a reasonable and meritorious basis” for a lawsuit to go forward that alleges that Cardenas drugged and fondled a 16-year-old girl following a golf outing in 2007.
The plaintiff, identified only as Jane Doe, is now an adult. She will be identified during the proceedings and is likely to be asked why she waited so long to file charges.
Cardenas, however, has denied the sexual abuse claim and was the first to announce that he was the person being accused and named in the lawsuit. Immediately following the announcement on May 3 from Cardenas’ office, newly elected school board member Kelly Gonez called for his resignation.
The demonstrators holding a large white sign that read, “Shame on you Congressman!” wrote personal messages to him that read: “Come clean Tony, dirty politics and abuse got to go,” “You broke our trust,” and “#Metoo #NeverAgain.”
Meanwhile, the primary election is only two weeks away, with Cardenas on the June 5 ballot asking voters for a fourth term. Two of his opponents — Joe Shammas, a fellow Democrat and Angelica Duenas, the Green Party candidate — were at the demonstration joining the call for the longtime politician to step down.
Patty Lopez also called for Cardenas to resign. Lopez, who was unseated by Raul Bocanegra, is now running again after Bocanegra was forced to resign and vacate the seat after several woman accused him of sexual abuse.
Cardenas was an ally and a strong supporter of Bocanegra during that campaign. The current front-runner in the upcoming Assembly race Luz Rivas has also received the support of Cardenas.
Cardenas was not in his field office during the demonstration. However, a statement was released on his behalf. It read:
“Since our client unequivocally denied these false allegations against him, there is still no new information to corroborate these untrue accusations. It saddens us that these falsehoods appear to be the work of dirty politics, timed weeks before voting in a congressional campaign. Our client’s innocence will be established during the course of the litigation. For the moment, California law allows the alleged victim to remain anonymous and to bring her allegations as Jane Doe. But during the litigation, the father, his daughter, and the congressman will testify under oath. In that process, the congressman expects to be fully exonerated.”
Cardenas’ attorney Patricia Glaser has said that the woman who filed the suit is the daughter of a “disgruntled former employee” and “may be the victim of manipulation.”
Lopez has maintained that it is extremely difficult for independent candidates to fight the “political machine” in the Northeast Valley that she has said is driven by Cardenas who has deep political pockets.
Lopez has also been critical of those she has called the “boys club” who represent the Northeast San Fernando Valley in Sacramento and, who are in consultation with Cardenas, as part of the “machine.”