CA Dem Party Chair Takes Leave Of Absence Amid Misconduct Allegations

SACRAMENTO, CA--MAY 21, 2017--Newly elected California Democratic Party Chairman, Eric Bauman, takes the stage at the start of the final day of the California Democratic State Convention, at the Convention Center in downtown Sacramento, CA., May 21, 2017.  (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times

The chair of the California Democratic Party said Wednesday that he would seek treatment for “an issue with alcohol” after expressing regret in light of multiple allegations of misconduct against him.

The party announced Monday that state chair Eric Bauman would take a leave of absence as an independent investigation probes the allegations.

In a statement quoted by the Los Angeles Times Wednesday, Bauman said he would “immediately seek medical intervention to address serious, ongoing health issues and to begin treatment for what I now realize is an issue with alcohol.”

“I deeply regret if my behavior has caused pain to any of the outstanding individuals with whom I’ve had the privilege to work,” he said.

The Times reported that Bauman repeatedly made inappropriate sexual remarks to party staffers, including about their genitals. The paper counted eight staffers who said they’d seen or experienced “unwanted touching” by Bauman, “particularly directed toward male staffers,” in the report’s words.

The allegations against Bauman first became widely known in a letter leaked last week from Vice Chairman Daraka Larimore-Hall to other party officials.

One staffer, Allan Acevedo, told the Times that at a dinner with his boyfriend, Bauman and Bauman’s husband in 2016, Bauman “made a number of comments that evening about Acevedo having sex at his home,” in the paper’s words. Acevedo joked that he could revoke his endorsement of Bauman for state party chair. Bauman, Acevedo said, grabbed the back of his neck in a “vise grip,”

and told Acevedo he knew the endorsement would not be pulled. When Acevedo asked why, he said Bauman squeezed down on his neck and said, “Because I would crush you.”

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