Another San Diego Politician in Hot Water for Sexual Harassment (Part 1)

demiao1Carl DeMaio, the ‘new generation Republican’ candidate that was going to be one of the poster boys for the new Republican party, is being accused of sexual harassment…not the first sexual misconduct allegation to surface with this guy.

Just a few weeks before the congressional elections, one of DeMaio’s former staffers, Todd Bosnich has brought out allegations that the politician sexually harassed him throughout the course of the campaign, once DeMaio learned that Bosnich is also gay.

And all of this just after San Diego began to recover from the sexual harassment charges leading to the step-down of former Democratic Mayor Bob Filner. These charges, if proven true will add to the growing list of alleged sexual misconduct of DeMaio and may actually serve to de-rail his political career.

DeMaio has gained fame as a new generation Republican. The openly gay fiscal conservative has called upon his party to abandon the old reliance on dying social issues and is working to help it shed its image as a group of old, white intolerant males and crazy right wing tea partiers.

Toward that end, the former San Diego City councilman, now potential Congressman has garnered attention and support from some of the big boys of the GOP party, like Senate Republican Leader, Mitch McConnell, House Speaker, John Boehner and former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg. It remains to be seen whether or not these heavy hitters will continue to support him in light of the recent allegations and echoes of previous accusations.

The Allegations

Todd Bosnich began working for DeMaio last year, after finally discovering a candidate who shared many of his same values, namely being openly gay and a Republican.

Much of the allure of working for a like minded candidate began to fade after he began to experience what he characterized as a string of sexually inappropriate advances and assaults. Bosnich says that whenever they were alone, DeMaio would corner him and grope him and massage and kiss his neck.

Bosnich says that things began to get worse one evening last year when the entire staff went to an after work gathering at a local gay bar one evening, and DeMaio offered him a ride back to his car. He says they made small talk on the way and once there DeMaio allegedly reached over and grabbed his crotch, Bosnich says he swatted DeMaio’s hand away and freaked out.

“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 progressively and progressively, the inappropriate touching incidents continued from there.”

Inexplicably, Bosnich waited several more months before he mentioned the behavior to campaign manager Tommy Knepper, who laughed it off.

“‘That’s just the way Carl is,'” Bosnich recalls Knepper saying. “And that if I really felt that uncomfortable I shouldn’t have let him know that I’m a gay man.”

Bosnich says he was outraged that Knepper was actually blaming him for DeMaio’s misconduct.

“He was implying that it’s my fault, that it’s incumbent on me to stop Carl DeMaio from these behaviors,” Bosnich said. “And I was really offended.”

The harassment apparently continued until one morning last April, when he arrived at the office to find DeMaio there alone. Demaio allegedly called Bosnich back to his office. Bosnich says he found the door open and the candidate seated at his desk, pants open, masturbating and smiling at him.

“I came over to his office, door was open. And he was masturbating,” Bosnich said. “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.”

There was no mistaking what was happening, he said.

Again, Bosnich waited several weeks to confront DeMaio, telling him that he basically had two choices: to stop harassing him or to drop out of the race.

Demaio chose a third option, and Bosnich was called into Knepper’s office the next morning.

“It was the very next day, in the morning, that the campaign manager called me into his office and said that Carl lost his trust in me and that he’d terminated me,” Bosnich said. “He offered me a position in the county Republican Party and also told me 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 left the campaign, he said, without taking any money or signing any papers. A day before the primary, Bosnich recorded an interview with a local conservative radio station outlining his allegations, but the interview never aired.

In the next segment of this article, we will discuss DeMaio’s response to these claims and will continue with the investigation surrounding this case of alleged sexual harassment.