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Councilman and candidate for the county District 4 supervisor seat Dominic Caserta has resigned from his position and withdrawn his bid for supervisor amid sexual harassment allegations.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, a part-time political science instructor at Foothill College and a high school teacher, 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, caused "irreparable harm" to him and his family.
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 female underage students at Santa Clara High School.
A Foothill student who worked on Caserta's political campaign went public with allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. Caserta's former campaign manager backed up the allegations and said he witnessed some of the alleged incidents.
In a message sent to the Foothill community on May 11, President Thuy Nguyen said the community college is "in the process of gathering more facts regarding the matter" and had offered student resources and information on student rights and district policies on sexual misconduct.
"It is important in this, as in any case of allegations, that the college has not reached any conclusions regarding the complaint and will refrain from doing so until such time as the review is complete," Nguyen wrote.
She asked anyone with information about the allegations to contact Pat Hyland, Foothill's director of equity and employee relations, at email@example.com or 650-949-6284. She also encouraged any students or employees who have experienced sexual misconduct to report their allegations to the school.
Nguyen noted Foothill's zero-tolerance policy for sexual misconduct and also that the school is required to follow state and federal law that "confers both employees and students with legal rights such as due process and confidentiality."
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.
"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."