New York state senator accused of domestic violence in Bronx

BRONX, New York (WABC) -- State Sen. Luis Sepulveda surrendered to police Tuesday to face domestic violence allegations.

Sepúlveda, a Democrat representing parts of the Bronx since 2018, is alleged to have attacked his wife, who filed a complaint against him on Jan. 9.

According to police, they responded to the couple's home before 6 a.m. that morning and both 56-year-old Sepulveda and his 40-year-old wife told police the other party assaulted them.

Sepulveda was charged with criminal obstruction of breathing in connection to the incident.

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Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said Sepulveda was removed as chair of the state Senate's Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee. and from his committee assignments.

Assemblymember Nathalia Fernandez is calling for Sepulveda to resign from the New York State Senate and drop out of the Bronx Borough President race.
"This morning, the New York State Senate Democratic Conference stripped Senator Luis Sepúlveda of his committee chairmanship and assignments amid a domestic violence allegation," Fernandez said. "Unfortunately, this is not the first time these allegations have been brought against the Senator. Gender-based violence exacts a terrible physical, psychological, and generational toll on so many vulnerable people -- we do not need leadership that employs this behavior. We need leadership that empowers women. I am calling for the Senator to drop out of the race for Bronx Borough President and submit his resignation from the Senate immediately."

However, Marvin Ray Raskin, an attorney for Sepulveda, said the allegations are "false."

"Mr. Sepulveda has been the victim of recurring physical violence by his estranged spouse for approximately nine years, a situation he has endured because of the young child they share together. This false accusation is a calculated attempt by a disgruntled party to leverage a divorce settlement from a case she filed in Florida this past November. All allegations must be taken seriously and investigated to the full extent of the law, which is why the Senator is committed to and will proactively provide full transparency as this matter is resolved. The issues raised must see the full light of day, and we are confident that when the true history of the relationship is understood, the facts that present themselves will clear his name."

Records show Sepúlveda's wife filed a dissolution of their marriage on Nov. 2 in Orange County, Florida, where they own a home. A lawyer listed in court records as representing Sepúlveda's wife in the divorce case said through a secretary that she could not discuss the matter.

Sepúlveda's wife previously sought an order of protection against him in 2015, when he was a member of the state Assembly. Sepúlveda said at the time that it was a temporary order later withdrawn by his wife. Both said that in that incident they had an argument but that it never turned violent.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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