SANTA CLARA (KPIX 5) — Former Santa Clara City Councilman Dominic Caserta will not face any criminal charges after being accused of sexual misconduct.
After investigating the case for months, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office released a statement on Wednesday afternoon which sounded like a scolding.
“After a thorough review and legal analysis of Dominic Caserta’s behavior toward a number of girls and women in recent years, our office has concluded that there is insufficient evidence to file criminal charges. However, crime or not, it is unacceptable to treat women with anything less than respect and dignity,” the report read.
While the DA’s office decided not to charge Caserta, it wanted to emphasize that this in no way diminishes the credibility of the accusers.
Caserta has not responded to any comments yet, but he has defiantly denied the allegations from the start.
“Those accusations, like me walking around in a towel, never happened,” he said adamantly.
But when the city council asked Caserta to resign, he complied.
Caserta resigned from the city council in May after nine accusers came forward, including former students from his high school civics class and even Lydia Jungkind, who was a volunteer for his campaign.
Jungkind said she brushed off weeks of back rubs and sexually suggestive comments by Caserta, and she dreaded moments where she had to get into a car with him.
“He laid his hands on my thigh and didn’t move it until I left the car,” said Jungkind. “He told me that it was really hard to resist the urge to kiss me right now. And that it’s hard for any man not to be attracted to me. He made his intentions very clear.”
KPIX 5 reached out to Jungkind after the DA’s decision on Wednesday, but she had no comment about its decision.
Ian Crueldad, Caserta’s campaign manager, said he saw Caserta walking around his home, which doubled as campaign headquarters, with just a towel. Crueldad also declined an interview.
Caserta also withdrew from the race for county supervisor. As for his work as a high school teacher in the Santa Clara Unified School District, he was placed on paid leave after the allegations surfaced.
Santa Clara mayor Lisa Gillmor does not want the DA’s decision to have a chilling effect on any other accusers out there who are thinking about coming forward.
“This may not be provable as a crime, but it’s deplorable to our community. And I want to applaud the young people that came out and stepped forward. They were so courageous and I want to let them know they did the right thing,” said Gillmor.
As for the vacated council seat, Caserta would have to run for office again to win it back.
When asked whether she would welcome Caserta back, Gilmor said, “No. No. Not after the harassment claims and everything, and hearing all the charges and the young people. I would absolutely not welcome him back. That behavior is not welcome in our community.”
Caserta is now staying with family outside of the Santa Clara area. He released a statement, through his lawyer, to the Mercury News, saying that he wants to move on from the accusations.