Santa Clara City Councilman resigns amid sexual harassment allegations

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A Santa Clara city councilman has resigned following allegations that he sexually harassed students at the schools where he taught, as well as former campaign staff members. (KGO-TV)

A Santa Clara city councilman has resigned following allegations that he sexually harassed students at the schools where he taught, as well as former campaign staff members.

Dominic Caserta also announced that he is suspending his campaign for county supervisor.

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Inside council chambers in Santa Clara, visual signs of former city councilman Caserta will soon be taken down. "His actions have had a terrible stain on our city of Santa Clara, and now, we as a city can begin the process to move forward," said Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor.

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The 16-year councilman also suspended his campaign for Santa Clara County board of supervisors. In a statement, Caserta said, "The allegations against me are false in every sense of the word, yet I have been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion, without due process, or recognition of my distinguished service to the school or the city."

Caserta had been accused of sexually harassing students at Santa Clara High School and Foothill College, as well as staffers who had been working on his campaign -- including foreign exchange student Lydia Jungkind, who says he made unwanted advances and inappropriate comments.

"I told him to stop but he didn't pay attention to that. He continued and it got worse over time," Jungkind said.
Caserta's resignation came just hours before local public safety unions were to call for him, as well as former San Jose City Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio, to step out of the race for county supervisor due to claims of sexual harassment.



"It's not about looping him in," said San Jose Police Officers Assocation's Paul Kelly. "Separate cases and separate victims, so it needs to be talked about."

Oliverio has denied all claims.

The Santa Clara City Council has 30 days to fill Caserta's seat and will more forward with plans Tuesday night to create a censure policy.

The Santa Clara Unified School District would only confirm that Caserta is an employee of the district, but would not share if any disciplinary action had been taken. The Santa Clara Police Department is now investigating the allegations.

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Related Topics:
politicssex abusesexual harassmentcrimesexual misconductSanta Clara
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