Victims Speak Up Against Caserta at Council Meeting; Mahan Won’t Mention Caserta, But Mentions Confidential Lawsuit Info

By Robert Haugh

He wasn’t in the room, but DominicCaserta was the talk of last night’s emotionally-charged Council meeting. Early in the meeting, the near-capacity Council chambers exploded with applause when the Council unanimously accepted Caserta’s resignation.

Dominic Caserta
It didn’t take long – former Santa Clara City Councilman Dominic Caserta’s nameplates were removed from the Council voting boards while his photos were removed from City Hall.

Of the 23 people who spoke on the item, many shared candid, personal stories. They were strong and tear-jerking stories about how Caserta sexually or verbally harassed his students and campaign workers — all minors or young adults.

Former campaign volunteer Lydia Jungkind, 19, who was the first female victim to come forward in the media said Caserta “knew I was vulnerable … he thinks he is invincible.”

Another former student, Savannah Nunez was brought to tears while telling her story. She said Caserta would frequently call her on her cell phone and even visited her at home. She described Caserta as sexually stalking her and called him a bully. She says she filed complaints with two different principals at Santa Clara High School.

Some speakers mentioned the 49ers in their testimonies. Tamara Pantic, a 2017 Santa Clara High graduate and former Youth Commissioner said Caserta would “brag on numerous occasions about how happy he was to have been a lobbyist for the 49ers, that thanks to them, he had a Mercedes and a comfortable life.” She added, “I could not enter his classroom without taking antacids to prevent myself from vomiting. I cried when asked to answer a question for a few weeks following the incident.”

Former campaign manager Ian Crueldad, who was the first to speak out in the media to San Jose Inside, said Caserta threatened to “have the 49ers come after him.”

Another former campaign manager, Eric Stroker said Caserta was a coward for not facing his accusers and concluded his speech by saying “Later @$$hole.” He got a lot of applause.

Testimonies were not limited to former students and campaign workers though.

Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Councilwomen Teresa O’Neill and Debi Davis also spoke about past bullying by Caserta:

O’Neill said of Caserta: “Lots of abuse has been heaped in this council room (by him) … Maybe we have to say Time’s Up.” A tearful Davis said “I myself have endured his bullying … I don’t like the way he treated some of the women on the Council.”

Gillmor concluded by saying she and her colleagues are “not going to sit back” and will “push it to the limit without violating anyone’s rights.”

Gillmor showed a lot of empathy in the way she ran the meeting. She gave victims time to speak and frequently said “it’s okay” when they were having trouble. Gillmor also received a lot of compliments from her colleagues. Councilman Pat Kolstad, O’Neill, and Watanabe in particular praised her leadership for bringing a tough issue forward.

Councilwoman PattyMahan is Caserta’s closest political ally. It was noticeable that Mahan didn’t mention Caserta by name when she complimented the victims for speaking. Mahan tried to tell the victims that their experience was like her having cancer. That was awkward.

Shaunn Cartwright
One Council speaker, Shaunn Cartwright displayed this sign after Patty Mahan’s remarks.

Mahan didn’t defend Caserta but tried to change the subject. She went on a tirade about how the Council should fill his now vacant seat. She didn’t stop speaking when Gillmor and City Attorney Brian Doyle asked her to stop talking about the details of a CVRA lawsuit facing the City.

Doyle felt he had to lay the smackdown on Mahan, reading a portion of the City’s ethics code and mentioning that she could be jeopardizing taxpayers’ money by speaking on confidential closed session matters. Mahan’s a lawyer, but she seemed angry and clueless last night. Caserta’s resignation is a big loss for her.

Press Conference

Earlier on Tuesday, Gillmor held a press conference about an hour after Caserta announced his resignation. All the council members stood with her — except Mahan.

Here’s the text of Gillmor’s statement.

GillmorStatement.jpg

15 comments

  1. Finally he is gone !!!!!! He is a disgrace to the human race. So many people knew what he had done, but could not say anything. The closest I came, was to say “maybe we could say shame on you “. He knew just why I said that. We have won !!!!!

  2. Kevin Park loves to talk. Kevin Park loves to talk about himself. Kevin Park loves to talk about himself as the victim of a political system just because he lost an election.

    Kevin Park lost an election because he didn’t work very hard. He raised no money and did no walking. He got a big chunk of the vote because he wasn’t Dominic Caserta.

    Just watch him last night try to high jack the item about sexual harassment victims to talk about his issue. Would you vote for him?

  3. City employees are overjoyed that Caserta is gone. He was a bully with a foul and mean temper. He demanded city staff do his bidding and reimburse him for expenses within a day. He thought he was special and powerful. He abused people with his power. It’s sad to find out that he abused his power as a teacher too, especially with his sexual harassment of female minors. He is a criminal.

    We all feel the the munchkins in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy’s house falls on the Wicked Witch of the East. We would be dancing around our desks and cubicles if we could. But we also know that the Wicked Witch of West is still alive and lurking around. So we can’t completely let our guards down. I think everyone knows who I’m talking about.

  4. Robert, I am often impressed with the images you present. Nice pictures, they drive the point home nicely.

  5. Dominic has always been a little odd in the way he acts out, often to his detriment. James Lee, if Dominic was set up it was by handing him the shovel he dug his own grave with. But we know he brought the shovel with him.

    • Not this time. In watching the streamed video of the council meeting on May 15, I was appalled to see and hear Mahan’s speech turn the focus from the courageous young people telling their stories of abuse to 1) her battle with cancer and 2) her concern about how Caserta’s vacant council seat would be filled. While I am sympathetic to Mahan’s ongoing struggle with cancer, it was agonizing to witness her complete insensitivity to those young people in front of her, advising them to have “acceptance”. What???? Acceptance would have been suffering Caserta’s abusive behavior quietly and not reporting it. In which case, how many students and/or campaign workers would have been victimized by him in the coming years?

    • James Lee – Caserta did this to himself repeatedly over the past 10 years. Nobody set him us. Nice try to shift the blame on to politics, sadly however this is a criminal case now.

    • By “this thing” you mean – this sexual harassment and molestation on high school minors thing??

    • James Lee, you sir are crazy. How can you call the sexual abuse and harassment Caserta has done “A set up to get him off council” You are embarrassing your self with your ignorant comments.

  6. I commend Gillmor, Watanabe, Davis, O’Neill for doing AND saying the right things.

    Mahan should be ashamed of herself. She attempted to turn the spotlight away from the victims and onto her personal health issues. Was she trying to deflect the issue from Caserta’s heinous actions?

    Also, Kevin Park was trying to turn a forum for victim’s into a push for his appointment. Shame on him.

    I think they are both clueless narcissists. Neither one of them should be in public office. If we’ve learned anything from Caserta, we’ve learned not to vote for people who have issues.

  7. I’ve always thought Mahan was a little odd. Now, I think she’s just plain weird.

    She’s also a really bad apologist for Caserta. When is she off the council?

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