OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A lobbyist tells KFOR now-former state representative Jose Cruz sexually assaulted her inside her own bathroom during a party on New Year’s Eve and claims other women have now come forward with similar experiences.

“It’s been really hard to wrap my brain around this happening. You don’t expect that when you have friends over for a party, that you’ll be assaulted in your own home,” Sarah Rivin, Oklahoma Government Relations Director for the American Heart Association, told KFOR.

Rivin is talking about a gathering she hosted at her apartment on New Year’s Eve.

Now-former state representative Jose Cruz, (D) Oklahoma City, was a guest.

Jose Cruz state headshot
Jose Cruz

“Representative Cruz and his wife were invited guests. They had been friends of mine. Pretty early in the evening, some friends of mine wanted to take a picture,” she said.

Rivin said she then went to her bathroom to fix her lipstick and closed the door.

“Representative Cruz came into my bathroom and closed the door behind him. It’s a pretty small bathroom, so I was blocked in. I know I made it clear that I wanted it to stop. He said some inappropriate things and he touched me inappropriately,” Rivin said.

Rivin said Cruz told her she had ‘such nice legs.’ He also allegedly said, “I just can’t stop watching you.”

She took News 4 to her apartment on Monday and showed our crew just how small the bathroom is, saying she felt trapped.

“The way he stood in front of the door was intentional and stopped me from leaving the bathroom,” she said. “I felt very small.”

After Cruz left the party, he sent Rivin several text messages, according to screenshots she gave to News 4.

The messages read, “I’m so drunk. Thanks for the invite. Happy 2022. I’m so sorry. Really really sorry.”

Cruz then texted Rivin again a short time later saying, “Hi. We left your party. I was only trying to say hello.” He went on to say, “Please don’t tell anyone. I’m so sorry.”

In a lengthy statement Cruz released last week, he said:

“With a heavy heart, I am resigning as the Representative for House District 89.

I started 2022 by exercising poor judgment and acting inappropriately during a gathering. I deeply regret my conduct and that my actions made someone else uncomfortable. I’m upset with myself and embarrassed.

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.

I can’t express my gratitude enough to my constituents, donors, colleagues and family. I’m very proud to have represented the people of South Oklahoma City, and serving as your representative has been a great honor.

Nevertheless, I must resign my seat, take steps to right my wrongs and learn from this experience. And although I’m giving up this seat, I will not give up advocating for others and fighting to improve Oklahoma.

(Resignation effective Jan 21st 5pm)”

“I’ve been hearing about ways he’s spinning it,” said Rivin. “I think his statement was an attempt to minimize what had happened.”

Rivin also told KFOR, since the alleged incident, she’s heard from several other women who said they’ve had a similar experience with Cruz.

“Representative Cruz tried to act like this was an isolated incident. He claims to be a champion for women,” she said. “As someone who’s been assaulted by him, I don’t think that’s accurate. Also, like I said, this is much broader than one mistake in my bathroom and I think people need to understand the impact that his actions have had on me and other women.”

That’s why Rivin filed a police report and decided to speak out about what allegedly happened inside her own home.

“I feel very distant from everything right now but that’s why it’s so important that I’m here talking about this because, this is so much bigger than me. It’s about this impact on other women by this one person and also, other people in power who have done this to other women,” Rivin said.

On Monday, House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, (D) Norman, released the following statement:

“On January 13th, 2022, credible allegations of inappropriate behavior against State Representative José Cruz were brought to my attention. Caucus Chair Cyndi Munson was also present during this conversation. 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. We respect her courage.

We spoke to Rep. Cruz on January 17th. In that conversation, we advised Rep. Cruz that we believed he should resign from office. Following that conversation, Rep. Cruz deliberated and ultimately decided to do what was best for House District 89.

From a caucus leadership standpoint, our number one priority was to ensure the victim was heard and offered our support as appropriate.

Party affiliation aside, the type of behavior Rep. Cruz engaged in is not acceptable for anyone, particularly an elected official in a position of power. His position alone could have prevented this victim from coming forward in fear of facing retaliation. We believe it is past time to have a serious conversation at the Capitol about the way legislators conduct themselves.”

Emily Virgin

News 4 called and texted Jose Cruz on Monday to see if he has any further comments about the alleged incident. He read our message but never responded.