SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — City Councilman Dominic Caserta, who is being investigated for numerous allegations of potential sexual abuse and improper behavior, announced Tuesday he was stepping down from office and dropping out of the county supervisor’s race.
In a two-page prepared statement, Caserta has denied the allegations and claims the release of his personnel file by the Santa Clara Unified School District has caused “irreparable harm…to me and my family.”
Caserta is also a Santa Clara High School teacher.
He said that the harm has caused him to no longer be able to effectively serve his constituents, so he has resigned his seat on the Santa Clara City Council “against every instinct in my body.”
Caserta stated that while he was a front-runner for the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors seat, he can no longer effectively talk about issues he is campaigning for. This means he will no longer campaign at all.
“Political adversaries are motivated to discredit my candidacy, bury me professionally and personally,” he said in the statement. “I will not let that happen.”
Caserta still denies all allegations that he may have harassed or acted inappropriately in the presence of previous campaign staff or female underage students at Santa Clara High School.
“The allegations against me are all false in every sense of the word,” he said in the statement. “Yet, I have been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion without due process or recognition of my distinguished service to school and the city. Reading the papers, online reports and watching the news is too much for my family and me to bear.”
Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor reported Monday at a news conference at City Hall that nine police reports had been filed against Caserta since the city sent out a notice asking for those who had been victims of Caserta’s alleged actions to come forward.
On Tuesday, Gillmor commended Caserta for stepping down. She and the other city council members were set to debate what actions to take against Caserta at their meeting later Tuesday, but did not have the authority to remove him from office.
“I commend councilmember Dominic Caserta for making the right decision to resign from office,” she said at a news conference. “His actions have had a terrible stain on our city of Santa Clara. Now, we are a city can begin the process of moving forward.”
Gillmor said 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.
Meanwhile, Caserta said “the past week has been unbelievably excruciating.”
“I must now work to preserve my family, livelihood and health,” Caserta said in his statement. “In the next few months, the allegations against me will be put to the test and my name will be cleared.”