State Sen. Joel Anderson accused of threatening to assault female lobbyist

Senator Joel Anderson (R) on the floor of the Senate during the Stand Up 4 Music Advocacy Drive In on May 18, 2018 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Brian Baer/Getty Images for NAMM)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine, was accused by a female lobbyist of threatening to “bitch slap” her and harassing her at a bar in Sacramento last week, it was reported Monday.

Stephanie Roberson works for the California Nurses Association and filed a complaint with the Senate Rules Committee on Friday against Anderson, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Another lobbyist who told the paper they witnessed the incident said Anderson approached Roberson at a fundraiser for another legislator at the Diplomat Steakhouse, across from the state Capitol, and brought up the fact the CNA never endorsed him, the Times said.

At one point in the conversation, the lobbyist claimed Anderson commented on Roberson’s appearance, then threatened to hit her. The witness told The Times Anderson repeatedly told Roberson “You better shut up before I bitch slap you.”

Another witness confirmed that account, the paper said.

Anderson was removed from the restaurant by staff without incident.

California Nurses Association Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, issued a statement calling Anderson’s conduct “outrageous and unacceptable behavior” and said he should resign as a state senator and end his campaign for the state Board of Equalization.

Senate Minority Leader Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Beach, declined to comment on the allegations, citing an on-going investigation, the Times reported.

Anderson released a statement Tuesday morning:

“I have the utmost respect for Stephanie and I sincerely regret my word choice that was not directed at her. I welcome the Rules Committee investigation to clear up this misunderstanding.”

Anderson has represented the San Diego area in the Legislature since being elected to the Assembly in 2006, then moving to the state Senate in 2010.

Since last fall, three Democratic lawmakers, Raul Bocanegra, Matt Dababneh and Tony Mendoza, all resigned amid sexual harassment allegations.

Former Democratic Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas was the subject of two sexual harassment complaints when he left office in December, citing health reasons, The Times said.