SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on the reprimand of a state senator (all times local):
A California state senator reprimanded for hugging colleagues is apologizing to anyone who felt his frequent embraces were unwelcome.
Sen. Bob Hertzberg, a Democrat from the Los Angeles area, said in a letter Thursday that he has greeted people with hugs all his life.
He says they were intended to demonstrate warmth and kindness along with his exuberance.
He also said the misconduct allegations against him were exploited by opponents as he proposed overhauling California’s money bail system for offenders awaiting trial.
Hertzberg said the Legislature should do a better job of keeping harassment complaints confidential during investigations.
A California state senator has been told to stop hugging people after a sexual misconduct investigation concluded his behavior made multiple colleagues uncomfortable.
The Senate Rules Committee formally reprimanded Sen. Bob Hertzberg on Tuesday. The Los Angeles-area Democrat says he’ll respect the request not to hug people.
An investigation covered four complaints against Hertzberg dating to 2010 involving three female lawmakers and a male sergeant at arms. It found he hugged the three lawmakers in ways that made them uncomfortable and made the sergeant uncomfortable by “dancing briefly with his backside” against him.
Hertzberg is known for being gregarious and his frequent hugs of men and women earned him the nickname “Hugsberg.” The investigation found the vast majority of Hertzberg’s hugs were not unwelcome or meant to be sexual in nature.
It comes after three state lawmakers accused of sexual misconduct have resigned.