Former legislative aide accuses OC Assemblyman Bill Brough of rape

Saturday, December 5, 2020
Former legislative aide accuses OC assemblyman of rape
A former legislative aide is accusing Assemblyman Bill Brough of raping her in 2015.

Orange, Calif. (KABC) -- A former legislative aide is accusing Assemblyman Bill Brough of raping her in 2015.

Patricia Todd, whose last name at the time was Lenkiewicz, is speaking publicly for the first time, after sending a complaint this week to law enforcement. Sacramento police confirm they are investigating the allegations.

"I've survived this for five years and five years is too long to not have the help and support," said Todd, as she sat in her attorney's office in Orange.

Todd was a legislative aide to state Sen. John Moorlach, working in the Capitol.

In her complaint to law enforcement, she alleged the assault happened July 7, 2015, after meeting Brough for dinner to discuss a potential committee secretary position for the Irish Caucus he was forming, that he said could involve trips to Ireland.

Todd alleged Brough smelled of alcohol when she picked him up at 6:15 p.m. According to the complaint, he ordered five drinks during dinner and was heavily intoxicated.

"It got really weird and uncomfortable when he mentioned that he would have 'one-on-one meetings,'" said Todd, motioning quote signs. "'One-on-one'" meetings in my room when we were travelling abroad to Ireland".

"I said I needed to go," recalled Todd. "I reminded him that he was married and had children".

She said he wanted a ride. According to the complaint, she alleges as they were driving he asked her to pull over into an empty parking lot.

"He tried to kiss me, I pushed him away, he tried further and then things happened from there," said Todd, her eyes tearing up.

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According to the complaint, Brough pinned her down on the center console of her car as she tried to get away by climbing into the backseat. Todd alleged she "was screaming, 'NO! BILL NO!' The entire time."

"Assemblyman Bill Brough... raped her and sodomized her," said Todd's attorney, Michael Schroeder, a former California Republican Party chairman, as he talked about details in the complaint.

After the alleged sexual assault, the complaint stated Brough asked her to drive him downtown, where she dropped him off at a bar.

According to the complaint, Todd said she drove to her home in Elk Grove contemplating suicide by driving off the road.

She provided Eyewitness News with photos of her injuries from the alleged incident - taken at the urging of her friend, an attorney. The pictures show bruises on her thighs, knee, hip, arm and hand.

She said her friend encouraged her to go to the doctor, which she did days later.

"I did go because there was things still happening, still bleeding, still bruising," she said. "I was also concerned about STDs, HIV, so I wanted to get those tests, which I did."

Todd said she confided in a couple of friends, but feared telling others.

"I was absolutely worried about my job. I was a soon to be single mom. I had a teenage daughter," said Todd.

Todd said she didn't tell Moorlach's chief of staff Tim Clark when he first asked her what was wrong.

But two months later, she said when Clark asked her again, she gave more details.

"He named the Assemblyman's name and I broke down," recalled Todd. "So he (Clark), without me telling him, knew who it was."

She claimed Clark told her not to tell Sen. Moorlach or report it. Clark disputes that.

"These details described are incorrect. This staff member told me about an alleged incident that took place on her personal time," Clark said in a statement he provided to Eyewitness News.

Clark said he urged her to report it and referred her to an attorney.

"The staff member demanded that nobody be told," Clark said in the statement. "I consulted Senate authorities without disclosing names as requested and followed the advice from State Senate personnel. Since this was an incident outside of work and in compliance with her desire for confidentiality, Sen. Moorlach was not briefed."

At least six women have reportedly accused Brough of sexual assault or harassment, including Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett.

In 2011, Bartlett alleged she was the recipient of inappropriate behavior at a retirement party at a Dana Point restaurant, when she and Brough were on the Dana Point City Council.

She filed a complaint with the city alleging Brough came up from behind, grabbed her shoulders, and tried to steer her out a side door. She said she was afraid and managed to get away.

"It's been investigated and they found no wrong-doing," Brough told Eyewitness News in September 2019.

Brough said the allegations were politically motivated by bitterness over his efforts to rein in a toll road agency.

The Dana Point city attorney stated he "did not have sufficient facts or evidence to come to any conclusions regarding the matter."

Last year, the Republican Party of Orange County called on Brough not to file for re-election and retire at the end of his current term. It said, "based on the totality of the circumstances and controversies surrounding the Assemblyman."

At that time, at least two women who came forward with allegations against Brough wanted to remain anonymous, but Brough outed them in an email sent to GOP officials to defend himself.

One woman, Legislative staffer Heather Baez filed a sexual harassment complaint against Brough with the Assembly Rules Committee in 2017.

In a statement provided to Eyewitness News, she said "he made repeated and unwanted advances towards me for years including ... an extremely offensive and non-consensual physical contact".

The state looked into her complaint but investigators told her they could not determine if Assembly policy was violated.

In 2019, Jenniffer Rodriguez, a former legislative aide filed a complaint against Brough with the Assembly Workplace Conduct Unit or WCU, that grew out of the Me Too movement.

In a statement provided to Eyewitness News, Rodriguez said Brough told her "I have been watching you for a long time and wondering why you weren't married." She claimed he told her he could help her politically if she went home with him.

Last May, Brough was removed from all committee assignments after the WCU investigation found Brough "engaged in inappropriate conduct." He was ordered to take harassment training.

Brough said he disagreed with the findings.

"I categorically deny harassing or offering political favors to anyone. I will take the recommended training," said Brough in a statement last May.

Todd said she was also interviewed in August by the WCU. But never heard anything more.

The Republican Assemblyman from Dana Point lost his seat, after failing to qualify for the November ballot.

We left multiple messages for Brough about Todd's allegations but so far, he has not responded.

After a more than 13 years at the state Capitol, Todd left her career in 2016, returned to school and moved into a new career, away from politics. She has since remarried.

She said she only learned about the other allegations against Brough, after reading a blog last summer.

She said she's speaking out now-to hold Brough accountable and to help other potential victims who may not have the strength to come forward.

"If something had escalated to my level," said Todd. "There have to be other women out there who are too scared, that are staying in the shadows, that don't want to come forward or can't come forward."