San Fernando Valley lawmaker Bob Hertzberg accused of inappropriate touching

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Bob Hertzberg is a state senator representing the eastern San Fernando Valley, and he's facing accusations from three current and former California lawmakers who say he inappropriately touched them.

Hertzberg is the latest man in power to face accusations of sexual harassment or assault.

He is known for his hugging. He hugs so many people -- men and women -- that his nickname is literally "huggy," but former state assembly member, Dr. Linda Halderman, said Hertzberg's hugs extended beyond friendly and became inappropriately sexual. Two current California lawmakers told the Sacramento Bee a similar story.

Hertzberg released a statement Wednesday, reading:

"All of my life I have greeted my friends and colleagues with a hug. My intentions have only been to foster a warm, human connection. I apologize to anyone who may have ever felt uncomfortable, and I will change how I greet people moving forward."

Halderman responded to that statement, telling Eyewitness News:

"After reading Senator Hertzberg's comments, he seems to think there's no difference between a 'Hug' and groping. But what Bob did was so far over the line, and so far more than just him being friendly, I felt his comments were disingenuous. I'm not aware of him thrusting his groin into male colleagues or rubbing his colleagues' breasts against him if they happen to be male. I think any reasonable person knows the difference between a sexual overture and a friendly hug...and the women in office are certainly qualified to make that distinction."

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