- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 12, 2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The Latest on child cruelty charges against a California Assemblyman (all times local):

3:30 p.m.

The leader of the California Assembly says he supports a fellow lawmaker’s decision to take a leave of absence while facing a misdemeanor charge of child cruelty.

Speaker Anthony Rendon says he has “respect” for Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula and says the charges represent a “difficult time” for Arambula and his family. Both are Democrats.

Arambula, who represents Fresno, has been charged with inflicting unjustifiable physical pain and/or mental suffering on a child. The maximum sentence is six months in jail.



Arambula says he’s shocked by the charges and says allegations he may have harmed his 7-year-old daughter are “false and unthinkable.”

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12:50 p.m.

A California lawmaker is taking a temporary leave of absence from the state Assembly while disputing a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to a child.

Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula announced he will take temporary leave Tuesday. He acted hours after Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp announced that he is charged with inflicting unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering on a child.

The Fresno Democrat says in a statement that he is shocked by the charges. He says the allegation that he may have harmed his 7-year-old daughter is “false and unthinkable.”

He was arrested in December after officials at Dailey Elementary Charter School learned of an injury on his daughter and reported it to child protective services and the police.

The maximum sentence is six months in jail.

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11:14 a.m.

California prosecutors are charging a member of the state Assembly with misdemeanor cruelty to a child, which carries a maximum sentence of six months in jail.

Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp announced Tuesday that 41-year-old Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula is charged with inflicting unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering on a child.

The Fresno Democrat was arrested in December after officials at Dailey Elementary Charter School learned of an injury on his 7-year-old daughter and reported it to child protective services and the police.

His three daughters, ages 3, 6 and 7, stayed with his parents for two nights but were then allowed to return home to Arambula and his wife, Elizabeth.

His office referred calls for comment to defense attorney Margarita Martinez-Baly, who did not immediately respond.

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