Orange County assemblyman accused of sexual harassment asked not to seek re-election by OC GOP

COSTA MESA, Calif. (KABC) -- An Orange County lawmaker accused of sexual harassment by multiple women was called on by the Republican Party of Orange County on Monday to not seek re-election and retire at the end of his current term.

Assemblyman Bill Brough is accused of unwanted touching and other misconduct involving at least three women, including Lisa Bartlett, the Chair of the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

Bartlett alleges she was the recipient of inappropriate behavior at a retirement party at a restaurant in Dana Point, during a time she and Brough were on the Dana Point City Council in 2011.

Bartlett spoke up against his endorsement after Brough sent an e-mail to committee members last month.

In the e-mail, he names the women making accusations against him.

"We have victims that came forward anonymously," said Patricia Wenskunas, founder of Crime Survivors. "They should have been respected, but yet, Assemblyman Brough decided to call them all out in an e-mail, calling them liars, bullying them."

In a statement, Bartlett said:

"In regard to Bill's unhinged email and denials about my claim, he is lying... I did file a complaint against Bill with the City, there was an investigation."

"It's been investigated and they found no wrongdoing," Brough told Eyewitness News.

A 2011 memo from the Dana Point city attorney stated there was not sufficient facts or evidence to come to any conclusions regarding the matter.

Brough says the allegations are politically motivated by bitterness over his efforts to try to rein in a toll road agency.

Brough abruptly left the committee meeting Monday after the Republican Party of Orange County called on Brough not to file for re-election and retire at the end of his term.

"Based on the totality of the circumstances and controversies surrounding the Assemblyman, the Republican Party of Orange County calls on Bill Brough to not file for re-election to the state assembly, and retire at the end of his current term," said a resolution from the Republican Party of Orange County.

"They just made a political judgement. They think I should not run for re-election, but I've done nothing wrong, so we'll see," Brough said.

A plea aimed at Brough by Wenskunas called on him to resign, a comment made during the OC GOP Central Committee meeting before a vote on the resolution.

Brough is looking at re-election in 2020 for the 73rd State Assembly District race.

Brough told Eyewitness News he would not resign.

The state campaign watchdog is also investigating Brough for alleged misuse of campaign funds. Brough has denied any wrongdoing.
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