House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Saturday called for the House Ethics Committee to investigate allegations that Rep. Tony Cardenas of Panorama City drugged and fondled a teenage girl during a 2007 golf outing.
Cardenas denies the allegations.
“I have spoken with Congressman Cardenas and he appropriately asked us to withhold judgment until there is a full investigation of the facts,” Pelosi, D-San Francisco, said in a statement released Saturday.
“As Members of Congress, we each have a responsibility to uphold the integrity of the House of Representatives, and any type of alleged misconduct must be investigated by the Ethics Committee. Congressman Cardenas said he will fully cooperate with an Ethics investigation.
“I call upon the House Ethics Committee for a prompt investigation of this matter.”
Attorney Patricia Glaser, who represents the 55-year-old Democrat in a lawsuit filed over the allegations, said Thursday that Cardenas “is sickened and distraught by these horrific allegations, which are 100 percent, categorically untrue.”
The lawsuit, filed last week by attorney Lisa Bloom on behalf of an unnamed woman, did not name the defendant because it was alleging child sexual abuse. Bloom said state law did not allow her to publicly name the defendant without court permission “under the extended statute of limitations for child sexual abuse.”
Glaser blasted the lawsuit’s 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.
The lawsuit, which doesn’t mention Cardenas by name, contends the plaintiff met the official in 2005 when she was a 14-year-old star teenage athlete. The suit contends that the official became close with her and her whole family, and he invited her to play golf at Hillcrest Country Club in January 2007, when the plaintiff was 16. During the game, he handed her a cup of ice water that “tasted distinctly different from both tap and filtered water,” according to the suit.
The lawsuit contends that the girl collapsed, but remained conscious, prompting the official to drive her to a hospital. Along the way, however, the man allegedly reached under her shirt and shorts, fondling her breast and genitals.
According to the lawsuit, the girl never confronted the man or reported him to police out of fear of retaliation against her and her family, but she was inspired to file the lawsuit in response to the #MeToo movement.