Santa Clara City Councilman and candidate for the county District 4 supervisor seat Dominic Caserta has resigned from his position and withdrawn his bid for supervisor amid sexual harassment allegations.
Caserta issued a statement Tuesday morning stating that the release of his personnel file by the Santa Clara Unified School District, with whom he is employed as a high school teacher, caused "irreparable harm" to him and his family. The Mercury News reported that "Caserta’s Santa Clara High School personnel file, which contained accounts of complaints by students of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior dating back more than a decade, was published apparently by mistake."
He said that 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, he said.
He is still denying all allegations that he may have harassed or acted inappropriately in the presence of previous campaign staff or underage female students at Santa Clara High School.
Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor said Monday at a news conference at City Hall that nine police reports had been filed since last week against Caserta after the city sent out a notice asking for those who had been victims of Caserta's alleged actions to come forward.
Gillmor commended Caserta in a press statement Tuesday for "making the right decision" by resigning and said his actions had been a "terrible stain on our city."
"As a mother with children the same age as Councilman Caserta's alleged victims, let me say to you: I feel sorry for what you may have experienced," Gillmor said Tuesday. "It's not easy for anyone, especially young adults and minors, to stand up to people in positions of power."
"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."
Last week, Caserta issued a news release on his campaign website for the District 4 supervisor seat denying all allegations and stating that portions of his school district personnel file had been released to everyone in the district without his knowledge or consent.
Caserta said in his statement last week 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.
The Santa Clara City Council now has 30 days to fill the vacancy.