Inspired by Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, Angela Villela Chavez has publicly alleged a Democratic congressman sexually assaulted her more than a decade ago.
Rep. Tony Cárdenas, a Democrat from California, allegedly gave Chavez, then a 16-year-old daughter of a family friend, a glass of water that “had an unusual taste” while at a golf tournament in 2007, according to a lawsuit filed last year.
Hours later, Chavez collapsed but remained conscious, and while Cárdenas took her to the hospital, he “reached inside her shirt and rubbed her breasts,” as well as “fondled” her genitals, the lawsuit alleges.
She also accused him of other instances of “unwanted touching.”
When the lawsuit was initially filed, neither Chavez nor Cárdenas were named.
Cárdenas, now 55, identified himself as the defendant and unequivocally denied the accusations.
Chavez, now 28, has decided to publicly come forward now because she was inspired by Ford, who testified before lawmakers during Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing last year.
Ford accused Kavanaugh of pinning her to a bed at a house party in the early 1980s while attempting to remove her clothes without her permission.
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Kavanaugh has often, including during an emotional hearing, denied the allegations.
Chavez initially declined to come forward with the allegations because Cárdenas helped her family with things like rent or taking her to play golf on expensive courses.
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has allowed the case against Cárdenas to move forward, and a trial is expected to begin in August, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Aside from the lawsuit, Chavez’s attorneys are asking the House to officially investigate, which Cárdenas’ lawyer said was proof of a “meritless and weak case.”
“Their sensationalizing the plaintiff’s false charges is a transparent effort to gain leverage through public relations, not the merits of plaintiff’s allegations, which are being litigated in court,” attorney Patricia Glaser told the Los Angeles Times.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, also of California, has requested the House Ethics Committee investigate.
At the time of the alleged abuse, Cárdenas was serving on the Los Angeles City Council.
He’s been in Congress, representing California’s 29th district, since 2013.
His lawyer previously said the congressman was “sickened and distraught by these horrific allegations.”
“We respect victims who have found the strength to come forward and call out misconduct when it has actually occurred, but the type of baseless and reckless allegations that are contained in the complaint against my client can ruin the lives and careers of innocent people,” Glaser said.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a reporter for Fox News. Fox News’ Benjamin Brown contributed to this Fox News report, which is used by permission.
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