Los Angeles

Cardenas Accuser Says Some Thought She Was His Daughter

Attorneys representing a young woman who alleges Rep. Tony Cardenas drugged and fondled her when she was 16 years old in 2007 and Cardenas was a Los Angeles Councilman say in new court papers some people mistakenly thought at the time the girl was Cardenas' daughter.

The lawyers also state in their court papers that Cardenas, a Panorama City Democrat, helped the plaintiff's family move from a mobile home into a spacious residence on a large San Fernando Valley lot.

In documents filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the plaintiff's lawyers describe their client as a "rising star" in amateur golf at the time and that she was dubbed "the next great Latina golfer" with comparisons to Nancy Lopez and Lorena Ochoa.

"Mr. Cardenas wanted to be a part of Ms. Doe's world," the woman's attorneys state in their court papers.

Cardenas often drove her to golf outings and at least twice took her to speaking events at Balboa Park and one other Los Angeles venue, the woman's attorneys state in their court papers. Cardenas asked the woman, identified only as Jane Doe in her suit, to stay by his side as he spoke with constituents and attendees, according to the plaintiffs' attorneys' court papers.

"A few times people remarked that Ms. Doe looked like Ms. Cardenas' daughter," the plaintiff's attorneys' court papers state. "At least two times, people mistakenly believed and remarked that Ms. Doe was Mr. Cardenas' daughter."

In a footnote in the court papers, the woman's lawyers state that then- Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa "also mistakenly thought Ms. Doe was Mr. Cardenas' daughter when he met Ms. Doe at Sylmar High School when Mr. Cardenas was not present."

Attorney Patricia Glaser, who represents Cardenas, said previously that he "is sickened and distraught by these horrific allegations, which are 100 percent, categorically untrue."

The suit was filed April 27, but Cardenas was not named as the defendant until the woman's lawyers obtained the proper court order. They state in their new papers that they want to amend their client's complaint to add a cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress. They also say the new facts represent information that could not be put in the original complaint because readers could have inferred the defendant was Cardenas.

The girl had been living in a mobile home in Pacoima, but Cardenas offered to provide a four-bedroom home for her family in which they would not have to pay rent or for utilities, according to the plaintiff's attorneys' court papers.

"Ms. Doe believes her father accepted Mr. Cardenas'

generous offer because he wanted a better life for his family," according to the plaintiff's lawyers' court papers.

A San Fernando Valley real estate developer who contributed to Cardenas' campaign paid for the family's living expenses in the new home located on a 20-acre lot, according to the woman's attorneys' court papers.

Cardenas considered the woman's father to be like a brother to him and hired the man to work for him in his Los Angeles City Council office and later when the politician was elected to Congress, according to the plaintiff's attorneys' court papers.

"Ms. Doe's father trusted Mr. Cardenas implicitly," according to the plaintiff's attorneys' court papers.

The amended lawsuit re-allages the plaintiff met Cardenas in 2005 when she was a 14-year-old star teenage athlete. Cardenas allegedly invited her to 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 plaintiff's attorneys' court papers.

The plaintiff's lawyers allege that the girl collapsed, but remained conscious, prompting Cardenas to drive her to a hospital. Along the way, however, Cardenas reached under her shirt and shorts, fondling her breast and genitals, the lawsuit alleges.

Although the plaintiff resented being allegedly touched by Cardenas in an inappropriate way, she did not say anything to him, the plaintiff's lawyers state in their court papers.

"Ms. Doe did not want to offend Mr. Cardenas because she trusted him and he was a very powerful man in the community and in her family's lives," her lawyers state in their court papers.

The plaintiff was left scarred by Cardenas' alleged abuses and she found it hard to develop relationships with men, the plaintiff's attorneys allege.

"Although Ms. Doe was ultimately able to become intimate with her fiance and now-husband, intimacy is still very difficult for Ms. Doe in her everyday life," according to the plaintiff's attorneys' court papers.

A hearing on the motion to amend the complaint is scheduled Sept. 4.

Contact Us