More than a month has passed since Santa Clara Councilman Dominic Caserta resigned from public office and withdrew from the race for county supervisor amid claims that he sexually harassed students and campaign staffers.
His former council colleagues, who tried unsuccessfully to appoint a replacement, will keep his seat vacant until the next election. Santa Clara High, where Caserta taught civics for 20 years, has placed him on paid leave pending an investigation. Some sources say he’s hunkered down in Hollister, although there have reportedly been a few Caserta sightings around town in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, police and prosecutors are trying to determine whether any of the alleged harassment by Caserta rose to the level of a crime. According to Santa Clara police Capt. Wahid Kazem, the number of reports filed against the embattled high school teacher reached 15 by the end of May.
Granted, some seem to have been merely informational reports about Caserta being overbearing or creepy. And one calls out Santa Clara High Principal Gregory Shelby for knowing about Caserta’s harassment and doing nothing to stop it. But a couple of the police summaries provided to Fly look like they might result in criminal charges.
On May 10, someone reported an incident from way back in 1992, when Caserta allegedly exposed his genitals to an undisclosed underage victim. It’s unclear whether Caserta was 17 or 18 at the time because the exact month of the incident isn’t listed. In the summary sent to Fly, police categorized the case as “disorderly conduct.” Another case that stands out as a potential misdemeanor at least is one classified as an ongoing “sexual offense” spanning from September of 2017 through March of this year.
Fly’s been trying to obtain more info about Caserta’s conduct at work, but the Santa Clara Unified School District—by way of its Title IX coordinator Andrew Lucia and Superintendent Stan Rose—is taking forever to respond to a simple records request.