SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) – Nine police reports have been filed against Santa Clara High School teacher and City Councilman Dominic Caserta, according to Mayor Lisa Gillmor.
The mayor said numerous credible allegations about potential sexual abuse and improper behavior against Caserta came to light last week and that the number has continued to grow since then.
The councilman is also running for a seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and has denied the allegations.
Gillmor said the allegations will be taken seriously and acted upon quickly and that she feels especially sad for Caserta’s victims because of a personal connection.
“I have children who are the same age as the students and campaign workers who Councilman Caserta may have abused,” Gillmor said in a statement. “I’m sickened by what they have publicly disclosed to the media.”
Gillmor commended those who stepped forward to report the acts, especially against someone in a position of power like Caserta.
A campaign billboard for Caserta shows the candidate smiling and standing with a woman and a young girl.
Former campaign worker Lydia Jungkind says looking at the billboard re-traumatizes her.
“It’s hard and it brings back a lot of memories that I would rather forget about,” said Jungkind.
A community group is now demanding that Outfront Media, which owns the billboard take it down even though it’s already been paid for by Caserta’s campaign.
“We’re here today to inform the business community of what’s going on with this candidate. We want the business community to join with us and choose daughters over dollars,” said neighbor Eric Stroke.
The allegations will be discussed at the regularly scheduled Santa Clara City Council meeting Tuesday, Gillmor said.
“Tomorrow, the City Council has the opportunity to take the first step to condemning Councilman Caserta for his actions,” Gillmor said in her statement. “I hope we will do so.”
At the meeting, Caserta will have the opportunity to defend himself against the claims and even address his accusers if he pleases. However, Gillmor said that she hopes he chooses to resign immediately “for the sake of the community.”
Last Tuesday, Caserta issued a news release on his campaign website for the District 4 supervisor seat denying all allegations and stating that portions of his personnel file from the Santa Clara Unified School District had been released to everyone in the district without his knowledge or consent.
In that file, details on previous allegations and mistakes such as sending home an Advanced Placement test that disqualified his students from the rewards of good testing were included.
Caserta said in his statement that the allegations were investigated by the school district and that he was exonerated.
“Rehashing things that occurred 12 to 16 years ago is a waste of time,” the councilman stated.
Santa Clara Unified School District assistant superintendent Andrew Lucia said that due to the confidentiality of the report, he could only confirm that a personnel file was leaked and not whom the file pertained to.
He also said that Caserta was still an employee of the school district.
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