Ex-Oklahoma State Lawmaker Accused of Sexual Misconduct By Lobbyist Days After Resignation

An Oklahoma City lobbyist on Wednesday accused former Oklahoma state Representative Jose Cruz of inappropriately touching her during a New Year's Eve party just days after he abruptly resigned from office.

Cruz, 31, officially left his House seat on Friday after announcing his resignation last week. In a statement, he apologized for "exercising poor judgment and acting inappropriately" at a New Year's Eve party.

"I deeply regret my conduct and that my actions made someone else uncomfortable. I'm upset with myself and embarrassed," said Cruz, who didn't elaborate on his actions.

Sarah Rivin came forward with allegations about what occurred in her home on the evening of December 31. Rivin told the Associated Press that Cruz ran his hand up her leg and said things to her that were inappropriate.

Rivin, 33, told KFOR that she was in her bathroom at home when Cruz came in behind her and shut the door. She said Cruz cornered her and made inappropriate comments like you have "such nice legs" and "I just can't stop watching you."

"I made it clear I was uncomfortable and he stepped aside," Rivin told AP.

Rivin said she stayed in her bedroom the majority of the night and cried after telling her friends what happened. She told AP that Cruz and his wife remained at the party until shortly after midnight.

"I mostly just felt panicked and wanted to hide versus confronting that situation," she told AP. "It was obviously surprising when somebody you consider a friend, really, attacks you in your own home."

Rivin said Cruz sent several text messages after he left the party asking her not to tell anyone what happened. He said he was drunk and apologized for what happened.

According to KFOR, one of the messages said: "I'm so drunk. Thanks for the invite. Happy 2022. I'm so sorry. Really Really sorry."

State Rep. Jose Cruz Resigns
Oklahoma state Representative Jose Cruz, who resigned abruptly from his House seat last week, has been accused by an Oklahoma City lobbyist of touching her inappropriately during a New Year’s Eve party at her home. The former first-term Democratic state representative issued a statement in which he apologized for “exercising poor judgment and acting inappropriately during a gathering." Above, Cruz responds to Governor Kevin Stitt's State of the State address in front of St. Anthony's Hospital on February 1, 2021, in Oklahoma City. Alonzo Adams/AP Photo

AP reported that Rivin told the House Democratic Leader Emily Virgin about what she said happened during the party. Virgin released a statement on Monday addressing the allegations.

"We heard directly from the victim, and we believed her. She has nothing to gain from coming forward and faces considerable personal and professional risk for simply speaking out about this behavior by someone in power," Virgin said in the statement, KWTV reported.

Virgin said Cruz was asked to resign from office over the incident and he "ultimately decided to do what was best for House District 89."

In Cruz's resignation statement last week, he said, "My actions on New Year's Eve did not reflect my values and beliefs.

"I consider myself a champion of women and have deep respect for my female colleagues and friends. However, my conduct that evening was inappropriate. I take full responsibility for my behavior, and I apologize."

AP reported that Rivin filed a police report on Sunday and the incident is under investigation.

Newsweek reached out to Cruz for comment on the allegations but did not hear back in time for publication.