Huntington Park Councilwoman and Assembly District Candidate Accused of Negligence and Cover-Up in Lawsuit Alleging Sexual Assault and Battery

Huntington Park, California – A lawsuit filed at the Norwalk Courthouse has accused Huntington Park Councilwoman Graciela Ortiz and 57th Assembly District candidate Efren Martinez of negligence, failure to supervise, and attempting to cover up the actions of their campaign employee Billy Valdivia during their campaigns in 2020-2021. The lawsuit alleges sexual assault and battery, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and conspiracy. The plaintiff, referred to as “B.A.,” is represented by attorney Thomas Scully.

The lawsuit claims that the alleged crimes took place in a commercial space that was used as a political campaign office in Huntington Park. Valdivia, described as a campaign employee and authorized agent, is accused of sexually assaulting and battering B.A. inside Martinez’s car. The lawsuit also alleges that Ortiz and Martinez conspired to cover up Valdivia’s conduct, discrediting B.A. and her friends and family.

As a result of the lawsuit, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has reportedly removed Ortiz from her job as an LA unified counseling administrator pending a confidential investigation. The school employees union has withdrawn its endorsement of Ortiz for the upcoming March 5 election.

In response to the lawsuit, Martinez and Ortiz released a joint statement dismissing it as a frivolous, politically driven action filed by an anonymous party. They claim that the allegations are false and without legal authority, and that they have never allowed or condoned any type of abuse. They argue that the lawsuit is an attempt to derail their political efforts and is driven by malicious actors.

Martinez also issued a separate statement denying that Valdivia or B.A. ever worked for his campaign. He stated that no one mentioned in the lawsuit has ever been an employee of his campaign, and that the plaintiff could not have volunteered for his executive board race. Martinez called the lawsuit a politically motivated attack and expressed his intention to clarify the alleged lies and hold those responsible accountable.

The lawsuit is seeking a jury trial, money damages against Valdivia, and findings of joint and several liability for negligent hiring, supervision, and retention against Martinez and Ortiz, as well as a finding of joint and several liability for the alleged conspiracy to cover up.

Attorney Thomas Scully, representing B.A., declined to comment on ongoing litigation but stated that his objective is to help his client.

This lawsuit adds another layer of controversy to the campaigns of Ortiz and Martinez, with both individuals facing accusations of negligence and attempting to cover up misconduct by their campaign employee. The legal proceedings and the outcome of the case will likely have significant implications for their political careers.