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Hispanic Senator Tony Mendoza in archive photo, 2012. Photo: Flickr
Hispanic Senator Tony Mendoza in archive photo, 2012. Photo: Flickr

Hispanic Senator Tony Mendoza was dismissed by accusations of sexual harassment

Three women who worked for him have accused the Democratic senator of sexual harassment.

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And he finally fell.

California State Senator Tony Mendoza, accused by three women of sexual harassment, was dismissed from office on Monday after an emergency meeting organized by the Senate Rules Committee.

The president of this Committee, the also Hispanic Kevin de León, announced the suspension of Mendoza and said that the Senate has "zero tolerance policies" on sexual harassment and that a thorough investigation will be conducted.

"This is just an important step. What comes next is a complete and independent investigation led by external experts whose results will be publicly reported," De León said in a statement.

De Leon, who resides permanently in Los Angeles and who is also president in charge of the Senate, shared an apartment in Sacramento with Mendoza until recently but moved out as soon as the first accusation against the senator arose.

Mendoza assumed his position in the Senate on December 1, 2014, and between December 2006 and November 2012 he was a representative of District 56 to the California Assembly.

As a Democrat recently representing District 32, he was the president of the prestigious Committee of Banking, Financial and Insurance Institutions and was also a member of the California Commission for Economic Development and the California Workforce Development Board.

The accusations have arisen as a result of a campaign conducted by legislators, Capitol employees, lobbyists and political consultants who have denounced a "culture" of sexual abuse of women in the legislative body of California.

Also on Monday, the Hispanic Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra announced his immediate resignation from his legislative post, as a result of complaints in recent days of harassment and sexual abuse by seven women.

Bocanegra had nine months left in his legislative term.

Last week he had resigned from leadership positions in the Assembly and said he would not seek re-election in 2018.

"After reflections during the recent holiday weekend and conversations with my family, friends, and followers, I decided to resign in advance to the State Assembly immediately, which was my original intention," Bocanegra said on his Facebook page today.

The California Senate recently announced that it would hire private law firms to conduct investigations into allegations of sexual harassment and abuse.

A promising Latino

Born into a family of nine brothers from South Los Angeles, Mendoza was the first of his family to graduate from college.

After graduating in Political Science and Public Administration and obtaining the title of bilingual professor at the California State University, in Long Beach, Mendoza worked as a teacher in a primary school in Los Angeles for ten years.

During his years in the world of education, Mendoza was director of the union United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) and representative of the California Teachers Association (CTA), in what could be considered his first steps in the world of politics.

In 1997 he was presented as a candidate for municipal councilor in his municipality, Artesia, near L.A, where he ended up becoming the first Latino to join the council. His campaign advocated security, with promises to eliminate the presence of urban gangs from Artesia. He was 26 years old.

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