Carl DeMaio, a candidate from San Diego, California, has been accused of sexually harassing, sexually accosting, and then attempting to bribe into silence, his former campaign policy director, Todd Bosnich.
DeMaio is a candidate for California’s 52nd congressional district in the November 4, 2014 election, and is challenging one-term incumbent Scott Peters.
At a press conference on Wednesday, DeMaio, 40, called the allegations ‘absolutely untrue’ and a ‘complete lie.’
The news was given national attention on Friday night when CNN aired a 9-minute major news story and reported that the former aide took a lie detector, and passed.
It reported that the openly gay former San Diego city councilman is regarded to be a ‘rising star’ who has won support from party heavyweights like Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner and even former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Bosnich, who is also gay, claimed in a CNN interview that DeMaio called him into his office and masturbated in front of him, made inappropriate advances, massaging and kissing his neck, and groping him.
On one occasion last April, Bosnich said he arrived early at campaign headquarters and was called by DeMaio to go to his office. When he got there, he found the door open and saw DeMaio masturbating.
‘I saw his hand, his penis in his hand and he had a smile on his face. And as soon as I came over he was looking at me,’ he was quoted as saying by CNN.
Months before that, after drinks with the staff at a local bar, Bosnich said DeMaio grabbed his crotch when he drove Bosnich back to his car.
‘And I flipped out. And I pushed his hand away,’ said Bosnich, who is 29. ‘I just was shocked because I’d never had anyone do something like that to me, especially in a position of authority and trust. And, at the time, I just figured, well, maybe he was drunk and blew it off. But he progressively and progressively, the inappropriate touching incidents continued from there.’
A few weeks later, Bosnich confronted DeMaio, telling him to either stop the harassment or drop out of the race.
The next day he was terminated from his campaign job and was offered a position in the county Republican Party. He was also asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement in exchange for $50,000.
Bosnich said he considered the offer ‘an attempt to bribe me to keep my silence.’ He said he rejected the offer and left without making the money or signing any papers.
He later recorded an interview with a local conservative radio station outlining his allegations, but the interview never aired.
Bosnich told CNN he denies the allegations and said Bosnich was terminated because he had plagiarized a report from the National Journal.
He said days later Bosnich broke into his campaign headquarters, smashed computers and cut the phone lines just days before the primary.
Bosnich said of his latest accuser, ‘It’s unfortunate. He’s clearly troubled. He got caught for the damage that he did to the campaign and now he’s manufacturing, in essence, a cover story to explain away his actions.’
The police to date has not charged anyone or named any suspects for the break-in.
DeMaio has previously been accused of sexually inappropriate behavior in 2009. A fellow city councilman said he twice caught DeMaio masturbating in a city hall restroom which DeMaio has denied.
CNN noted that while DeMaio denies the allegation, and claims he passed a lie detector test to prove it but has refused to provide the results of the test.