Santa Clara city councilman says he's not stepping down

A criminal investigation is underway involving a Santa Clara city councilman accused of sexual misconduct. Dominic Caserta is also a teacher and is considered the frontrunner in a race for county supervisor. Caserta said he had no plans of stepping down and will fight to clear his name. A city spokesman said at least four people have come forward to the police department alleging sexual misconduct.

“That’s the first I’ve heard of it in regards to a formal complaint and I look forward to going through the process,” said Caserta. 

Caserta was shaken up, but remained stoic, after learning several people have contacted the police department accusing the candidate for Santa Clara County Supervisor of sexual wrongdoing.
“The allegations are serious and they need to be investigated,” said Caserta. “I have every intention of continuing my campaign. I’m sad this is happening 29 days when this came out before my election.”

“I felt he is taking power away from me,” said Former Campaign Volunteer Lydia Jungkind. “I felt helpless.”

Jungkind filed a police report Tuesday. The 19-year-old was a campaign volunteer for Caserta. She quit last week and accuses him of repeated unwanted hugging and touching beginning in January. She recalls one time when she said the councilman put his hand on her leg.

“Immediately when we got into the car, he started rubbing my leg and making inappropriate comments,” said Jungkind. “I felt trapped in that car. I had a panic attack.”

This isn't the first time Caserta has faced serious allegations. A personnel file of Caserta, a teacher at Santa Clara High School was leaked and it showed students complained of inappropriate conduct, dating back from 2002. Caserta said those claims were investigated and no wrongdoing was found.
However, after the allegations were made public, Caserta lost several key endorsements from law enforcement, labor groups, and elected officials. Now members of the Santa Clara City Council want him to resign.

“I’m sickened and I’m sad for these victims and what they have gone through and any potential victims out there,” said Santa Clara Mayor Lisa Gillmor.

Caserta said he will fight to save his political career.

“I look forward to speaking my truth,” said Caserta. “Hopefully this isn't a witch-hunt but a sober, serious example of democracy at its finest.”

Caserta plans to answer to those allegations at Tuesday’s Santa Clara city council meeting. His accusers also plan to speak.