A second former campaign staffer has come forward to accuse Republican congressional candidate Carl DeMaio (R-CA) of sexual harassment.
Justin Harper, a former regional political director for DeMaio, told San Diego’s KPBS that on July 10 he went to DeMaio’s campaign headquarters following a news conference. Harper said he went to the bathroom and was confronted by DeMaio while at the urinal.
“I was at the urinal, and [DeMaio] came from the stall that was closest to the urinal and was kind of just standing there hovering,” Harper said. “I turned around and realized that it was Carl. He had his pants up, but his fly was undone, and he had his hand grasping his genitals.”
Harper said no words were exchanged.
“I just walked out,” Harper said. “I didn’t say anything to him, I just left.”
Harper said he left the campaign soon after the alleged incident.
Harper’s claim follows another former staffer, Todd Bosnich, saying that DeMaio, also sexually harassed him and then tried to keep him from publicizing the harassment by pushing him to sign a nondisclosure agreement.
In October, Bosnich suggested that Harper had also been sexually harassed by DeMaio.
The landlord for the building where DeMaio’s campaign is headquartered, JD Bols, said that the only urinal where the alleged harassment could have taken place has been broken since January. Harper said it was not broken at the time. A receptionist in the building also said the urinal is not currently broken. KPBS noted that Bols has given $4,000 to DeMaio’ campaign.
KPBS also reported that an email chain it obtained showed that Harper had sent an email about his claims to the campaign of DeMaio’s opponent, Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA). The email chain was forwarded from Peters campaign chief of staff MaryAnne Pintar to Bosnich, who, at the time of the forwarding, was the only accuser who had publicly made claims about sexual harassment against DeMaio. Pintar said she had talked with Bosnich before she received the email from Harper.
DeMaio’s campaign manager, Tommy Knepper, sent an email out to supporters responding to the reports of the second accuser:
With only 36 hours left until election day, we just learned today that the Scott Peters’ campaign is admitting that they’ve been deeply involved with the smear campaign against Carl.
Today two media outlets are reporting that Scott Peters’ campaign manager MaryAnne Pintar has been in communication with and advising those advancing these disgusting lies against Carl.
MaryAnne Pintar is the same person who Scott Peters had to admit took possession of our DeMaio campaign strategy book that was stolen during the May break-in of our office. She took possession of stolen property, and kept it a secret for four months!
We previously caught Scott Peters’ campaign using paid ads to promote these false smears. When confronted by reporters last week, he denied he was promoting the smears. Well, look what a difference a week makes: on Thursday, Peters released a TV ad promoting the smears.
San Diegans have had enough of Washington-style politics. Scott Peters is desperately trying to hang on to his DC perks and he knows he has no record to run on.
Carl is committed to talking about the issues that matter most. Scott Peters is clearly willing to do or say anything to go back to Washington, DC.
If Scott Peters had any integrity, he would immediately fire his campaign manager and apologize to San Diegans. We won’t hold our breath on that one!
PS: Curious about the timing of this smear from Scott Peters? It comes on the SAME DAY that a new poll shows Carl DeMaio leading by 13 points with ballots already cast.
Peters campaign spokesman Alex Roth quickly called Knepper’s claim “false and egregious.”
“It is a false and egregious lie to suggest our campaign is to blame for the Filner-esque mess Mr. DeMaio has created,” Roth said. “Both of DeMaio’s accusers worked for his campaign, both are loyal Republicans. These are serious charges and there are victims. Carl needs to stop placing blame on others and take responsibility for his actions.”