Congress

Woman suing Rep. Tony Cárdenas for sexual abuse makes her name public, inspired by Christine Blasey Ford

Trial will begin in August in Angela Villela Chavez’s suit against Cárdenas

A woman accusing Rep. Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif., of sexual abuse has made her name public for the first time. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The woman suing Rep. Tony Cárdenas, alleging that the California Democrat sexually abused her when she was a teenager, has made her name public for the first time. And she was inspired to do so by the Senate testimony of Christine Blasey Ford against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh last year, according to a new report.

A trial will begin in August in 28-year-old Angela Villela Chavez’s civil suit against Cárdenas in Los Angeles County.

The lawsuit alleges that in 2007, Cárdenas, who was then a member of the city council, drugged and groped 16-year-old Villela Chavez, the daughter of a family friend. Cárdenas, who holds a junior position in Democratic leadership, denies the allegations. 

Villela Chavez has also called on the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate Cárdenas, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The 29th District Democrat’s lawyer Patricia Glaser has said that Cárdenas has an “exemplary record” in his more than 20 years of public service, and argues that the call for a congressional investigation undermines his accuser’s 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,” she said in a statement to the paper.

But Speaker Nancy Pelosi has also called on congressional ethics investigators to look into the allegations of child sex abuse.

“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,” Pelosi said in May. “Congressman Cárdenas said he will fully cooperate with an Ethics investigation.”

The Office of Congressional Ethics typically takes months to recommend a case to the full House Ethics Committee. 

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