DUARTE (CBSLA.com) — A lawmaker is responding to domestic violence allegations made by his estranged wife.
Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, who is running for Congress, said he was shocked by the emergency protection order filed by Councilwoman Susan Rubio nearly a week ago.
In it, she claims that Hernandez would “harass, attack, strike, and threaten her.”
Married in 2013, the couple began divorce proceedings last year.
“I have never put a finger, a hand on my estranged wife,” said Hernandez in speaking for the first time on-camera about the allegations.
Now, two leaders of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus are calling for Hernandez to take a leave of absence.
In a statement, they wrote:
“… it’s important that the Legislature send a strong and consistent message to victims about our commitment to confronting domestic violence and demonstrate that we take allegations seriously when they occur among one of our own.”
The Democratic primary in his race for Congress is right around the corner, but Hernandez says he does not plan to step aside.
“My estranged wife is a politician. She’s well-versed on the political calendar. She knows when voters will start voting and I believe she knows this could be very hurtful and damaging to me,” he said.
Late Thursday night, Rubio sent a statement that said in part:
“Domestic violence is not just terrifying for victims, but for families as well. My hope is that by speaking out, I can encourage women to speak up and promote education on a larger level.”
Hernandez says he plans to file a defamation lawsuit.
“To take such a, what I consider an evil and pronounced allegation like this, is destructive and I think that’s the intent,” he said.