Carl DeMaio, a candidate from San Diego, California, could become the first openly gay Republican ever elected to the United States Congress. But the former San Diego City Council member says that liberal groups have singled him out for attack because he is a gay man who dares to be a Republican. But now DeMaio faces an even more serious threat.
A former staff member, Todd Bosnich, leveled explicit charges of sexual harassment against DeMaio in a CNN interview Friday, saying that on one occasion he was called into DeMaio’s office only to find the candidate openly masturbating when Bosnich, who is also gay, walked in.
“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,” Bosnich told CNN.
DeMaio, 40, flatly denied that the incident took place, but DeMaio has faced very similar accusation before. Just last year, according to CNN, another San Diego city councilmember said that he walked in on DeMaio masturbating in a City Hall men’s room not once, but twice.
DeMaio also denied that story.
Bosnich told CNN that when he informed DeMaio Campaign Manager Tommy Knepper of what he’d seen, Knepper told him, “That’s just the way Carl is.”
Bosnich, however, told CNN that the harassment went well beyond the single incident of exhibitionism. At one point, Bosnich was in a car with DeMaio, he said, when the candidate suddenly reached over and grabbed his crotch.
“I just was shocked because I’d never had anyone do something like that to me, especially in a position of authority and trust,” Bosnich said. “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.”
Asked about the Bosnich accusations by CNN, not only did DeMaio deny the charges, he returned fire, saying that Bosnich had been “terminated” from the campaign due to a charge of plagiarism.
DeMaio also charged that Bonsich once burglarized and vandalized the campaign’s headquarters.
“He’s clearly troubled,” DeMaio told CNN. “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.”
Carl DeMaio is described as a “next generation” Republican, part of the party’s attempt to appeal to groups that do not traditionally vote Republican, by soft-peddling the Republican focus on social issues such as the party’s opposition to gay marriage.
Watch the CNN report on the sexual harassment charges against Carl DeMaio above.