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San Fernando councilman who had affair with colleague resigns

July 10, 2012 |  6:36 pm

A San Fernando councilman who revealed that he was having an affair with a colleague last year has resigned.

Councilman Mario Hernandez stunned the community last year when he announced during a public meeting that he was having an affair with Councilwoman Maribel de la Torre. Hernandez' wife was sitting in the front row when he made the announcement.

But the relations between the council members evidently cooled and both Hernandez and De La Torre obtaining restraining orders against each other following a June 28 confrontation.

The confrontation unfolded when a police officer responded to a call at Hernandez’s home and found the residence had been ransacked and that the councilman had red marks and scratches on his neck, according to a police report.

Hernandez sought a restraining order against De la Torre, who responded in kind, officials said. De la Torre accused Hernandez of assaulting her last December, but no police report was filed.

“The only thing I will say is that I have never raised my hand against her at any time, or any other woman in my life,” Hernandez said in a statement Saturday. 

The story took an unusual twist Monday when the City Council, with De la Torre abstaining and Hernandez absent, voted to fire Police Chief Gil Carrillo, who was overseeing the investigation of De la Torre.

Carrillo, a retired veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, said his firing “came out of left field and it was a shock to him.”

In an email to The Times on Friday, De la Torre explained: “Words cannot begin to express how saddened I am over the events of the past several days.”

The recent incident apparently stemmed from an argument between the couple over a trip Hernandez was planning, according to a police report. Hernandez told police that De la Torre arrived at his home shortly before 6 p.m. to retrieve an iPad she had given him for his birthday and pushed past him into the home, according to the report.

When Hernandez told De la Torre he did not have the iPad, she allegedly punched him in the left cheek and slapped him before “ransacking his bedroom,” smashing some glass and breaking his laptop by hurling it on the floor, Hernandez told police.

She then allegedly grabbed Hernandez by the neck with both hands and began to squeeze his throat, Hernandez told police. Hernandez told police he was able to break free but that De la Torre allegedly punched him again before they fell onto the bed and she cut one of her toes on broken glass, according to the police report.

De la Torre said “it would be inappropriate to discuss this matter until any potential legal issues are resolved.”

In seeking a similar court order against Hernandez, De la Torre alleged that the councilman was the aggressor during last week’s incident. She alleged that it was Hernandez who pinned her on the bed.


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-- Richard Winton

Photo: Then-San Fernando Mayor Mario Hernandez listens to citizen comments during a packed city council meeting in December. Credit: Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles  Times