State Sen. Joel Anderson (R-San Diego) was issued a letter of reprimand after an allegation of sexual harassment was substantiated by an outside law firm hired to investigate an Aug. 13 incident in a Sacramento bar.
A lobbyist for the California Nurses Association filed a complaint last month alleging Anderson threatened to “b---- slap” her, after consuming a number of drinks at the Diplomat Steakhouse near the Capitol building during a fundraiser.
An outside law firm hired to investigate found Anderson had several drinks and then rubbed the complainant's shoulders “for about 10 seconds in a manner that was not invited and likely not welcome.”
The law firm interviewed nine witnesses, the lobbyist and Senator Anderson. It also obtained surveillance video of the incident, which did not have audio but did provide visual confirmation of witness statements, according to a written report of their investigation obtained by NBC 7.
According to that report, Anderson then complained about a lack of a relationship and said “I oughta b---- slap you.”
“Senator Anderson’s statement was interpreted by the complainant and witnesses to be offensive, verbally threatening and potentially racially insensitive to the complainant,” the report said.
“As the report states, at issue was the context of our conversation. The investigation doesn’t substantiate all the wild claims reported in the press, and I stand by my original statement," a statement released by the Senator Tuesday said.
Anderson previously issued an apology for his behavior in the bar on August 13.
In a letter of reprimand released to NBC 7 on Tuesday, Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) describes the substantiated allegations as “completely unacceptable.” Atkins writes to Anderson: “The Rules Committee instructs you to interact in a professional manner going forward.”
New rules were adopted by the state Legislature this year to increase transparency and allow victims of sexual harassment an outlet to make accusations at the Capitol. The Senate will hire outside law firms to investigate and the outcome of substantiated claims will be released to the public.
Senator Joel Anderson represents the 38th Senate District in the California Legislature, which includes Bonsall, Borrego Springs, El Cajon, Escondido, Fallbrook, Julian, Lakeside, Lemon Grove, La Mesa, Poway, Ramona, Rancho San Diego, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Santee and Valley Center. He was first elected to the State Assembly in 2006 and to the State Senate in 2010.