We suppose it was bound to happen.
For the first time, a prominent politician whose jurisdiction includes local communities has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior.
Accused, we say, because despite the seemingly valid complaints filed in recent months by so many women who say they’ve been harassed—or worse— citizens of this country are still assumed to be innocent until proven guilty.
But because the activity represents highly inappropriate, if not criminal, behavior that has hurt people and destroyed lives, judgment in the court of public opinion has been swift. We’ve never seen anything like it.
In the latest development, Matt Dababneh—who represents most of the western San Fernando Valley, including Calabasas in the 45th California Assembly District—has been accused of accosting a female lobbyist in the bathroom of a Las Vegas hotel last year. The details are pretty sordid.
Alleged victim Pam Lopez named Dababneh at a news conference Monday in Sacramento. While Dababneh, 36, denies any wrongdoing, the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley has called for his resignation.
Should these and other cases like it be prosecuted in a court of law, or is one person’s recollection of events enough evidence to bring down the accused without the benefit of due process?
And if those in the entertainment industry can be outed and cut loose swiftly, why aren’t the equally culpable politicians?
These are blurred lines in the murky backwater of “he said, she said.” Clearly, though, some cases are more egregious than others and should be treated as such.
Given the staggering array of offenses that have emerged nationwide, it’s hard to say where along the guilt-ometer Dababneh’s alleged activity falls. Whatever the outcome, little bodes well for the young assemblymember who was once seen as a rising star in California politics.
Troubling times, indeed, and for the first time that we can recall, there is no answer available on this page.
Men, just remember this: Certain lines cannot be crossed, ever. Don’t flatter yourselves with what you perceive to be amorous advances. They aren’t.
And women: If a man in power invites you for a job interview in his hotel room, why go in the first place?
We can’t believe we’re even having this conversation. Let’s make the workplace civil, and stop this insidious abuse of power once and for all.