LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A California Democratic Party investigation is underway today into the conduct of Chairman Eric Bauman, the former leader of L.A. County Democrats, who is alleged to have engaged in “horrific and dehumanizing” sexual misconduct against party staff members.
In a statement released Saturday evening, Bauman confirmed an investigation was underway but did not address the allegations against him. He said that independent counsel has been hired to investigate the matter, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“I look forward to putting these allegations behind us and moving forward as unified Democrats,” Bauman said in the statement reported by The Times.
Last week, Daraka Larimore-Hall, a vice chairman of the state party, sent a letter to state Democratic Party leadership calling for Bauman's removal.
Larimore-Hall said in the letter sent Tuesday that he learned of the allegations during a recent party executive board meeting a week ago. He said he had spoken to two of the alleged victims and that their stories “illustrate a clear and escalating pattern of Chairman Bauman”s horrific and dehumanizing behavior.”
Larimore-Hall declined to provide details of the specific allegations and said in a statement Saturday that he was withholding the names of those involved to protect their privacy, The Times reported.
Bauman was elected chairman of the party in 2017, after a closely contested election against progressive activist Kimberly Ellis. A former nurse and organizer, he led the Los Angeles County Democrats for 17 years and also served as vice chairman for the statewide party for eight years.
State Democratic Party sources told The Times that the outside counsel hired to investigate the allegations is Debra Henshaw Vierra, an employment law attorney at the Sacramento law firm Churchwell White.
Bauman has been under investigation for at least one harassment complaint involving employees prior to the Nov. 6 election, sources familiar with the investigation told the newspaper.
“These allegations are very troubling and deserve a full and thorough investigation,” Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom said in a statement Sunday.
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