University Places Head of Senate Fellows Program on Leave

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SACRAMENTO (AP) — The University of California-Sacramento has placed the director of a fellowship program with the state Senate on indefinite leave following allegations he advised a fellow not to immediately take action when she told him a senator had behaved inappropriately.

The university launched an investigation last week after the Sacramento Bee reported program director David Pacheco’s response to the fellow. University spokesman Brian Blomster declined to provide further details on Pacheco’s leave placement on Wednesday.

“Because this is a personnel issue, the University has no further comment,” he said.

The California Senate Fellows program places college graduates in paid, full-time jobs with the Legislature for 11 months. Sen. Tony Mendoza, a Democrat, is accused of inviting a 23-year-old fellow who worked in his office to his home on numerous occasions earlier this year. The Senate is conducting its own investigation into the allegations, made in a formal complaint by at least one former Mendoza staff member.

The young woman, who has not been publicly named, told Pacheco about Mendoza’s behavior, the Bee reported. Pacheco advised her to not take immediate action until he could talk with the Senate human resources department and reminded her that Mendoza’s office might be a place she could work after the fellowship program, the Bee reported.

The university’s Center for California Studies runs four programs in its Capital Fellows Program, including programs with the Assembly and executive and judicial branches.

Pam Chueh, who directs the Assembly Fellowship Program, will handle Pacheco’s duties for now.

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