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The Fresno County District Attorney’s office earlier this week charged Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) with a single misdemeanor count of cruelty to a child.

The 41-year-old Arambula announced in a March 12 news statement through his attorney that he was taking a voluntary leave of absence from his Assembly seat representing the 31st District, which includes Reedley.

“My wife and I are shocked that the district attorney has decided to file charges,” Arambula said in the statement. “The allegation that I may have harmed one of my daughters is false and unthinkable.”

Arambula had been arrested Dec. 10 at his 7-year-old daughter’s elementary school in Fresno on suspicion of injuring his daughter. He was released from custody, and has said in interviews that he spanked his daughter on her bottom with his hand as a punishment for acting out.

Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer has said that Child Protective Services was summoned to the school as a result of the injury that occurred the night before. Dyer said Arambula’s daughter had an injury that was not on her buttocks.

Arambula was scheduled to be arraigned in Fresno County Superior Court on March 13. If convicted, he could face up to six months in jail.

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