Second ex-staffer accuses gay GOP candidate of harassment

A second former staffer is accusing California House candidate Carl DeMaio (R) of sexual harassment.


The accusations come from Justin Harper, a Navy veteran who served as a regional political director for DeMaio's campaign who tells KPBS he quit after DeMaio harassed him last summer.

DeMaio, an openly gay former San Diego city councilman, has been locked in a tight race with freshman Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) for much of the year.

Harper said he was in the bathroom at the campaign's headquarters, when he realized DeMaio was in there with him.

"I was at the urinal, and [DeMaio] came from the stall that was closest to the urinal and was kind of just standing there hovering," Harper said. "I turned around and realized that it was Carl. He had his pants up, but his fly was undone, and he had his hand grasping his genitals."

The accusations come less than a month after another former DeMaio staffer accused him of explicit sexual harassment. In a third incident, DeMaio was accused of masturbating in a public city hall restroom last year.

DeMaio's campaign fired back at the story, calling Harper a liar.

"Reporters with journalistic integrity have dismissed these false smears because they’ve been peddled by the same people fired from the campaign months ago – and the District Attorney dismissed these false allegations weeks ago," DeMaio spokesman Dave McCullough said in a statement. "KPBS is reckless in reporting this outrageous lie because our office has not even had a urinal to use – a fact confirmed to KPBS by our landlord."