Sexual Harassment Allegations Shake Up Santa Clara Supervisor Race

The race for Santa Clara County District 4 Supervisor was turned upside-down Tuesday when frontrunner Dominic Caserta announced he was suspending his campaign and resigning from the city council. Caserta, a teacher, is facing mounting accusations of sexual misconduct from former campaign staffers and students at Santa Clara High School and Foothill College.

The councilman has vehemently denied the claims.

“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 wrote in a statement. Nevertheless, he said he would no longer be serving on the city council or actively campaigning for the District 4 seat.

So far, nine accusers have filed police reports against Caserta, with allegations against him dating all the way back 2002. His school personnel file, which was inadvertently sent to 1,600 members of the Santa Clara Unified School District, shows he was disciplined several times by administrators for harassing students. Supporters are now pulling their endorsements en masse.

Caserta’s downfall leaves an opening for one of the other six candidates in the race. But he could still pull off a win. It’s too late to have his name removed from the ballot and more than 130,000 people have already voted by mail.

Caserta isn’t the only District 4 candidate to be dogged by allegations of sexual impropriety. Opponents of former San Jose City Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio haved dredged up sexual harassment allegations that were leveled against him by a subordinate three years ago. The accuser eventually dropped Oliverio’s name from a lawsuit and settled with the City of San Jose for $10,000.

Santa Clara’s District 4 seat is currently occupied by Ken Yeager. He’s termed out this year after more than a decade on the Board.