Dominic Caserta is going about his comeback tour in a random, roundabout way.
First, the disgraced ex-Santa Clara councilman opined about urban planning and traffic woes in an interview for a Czech newspaper. Then he had an attorney send takedown requests to a couple local bloggers (though Fly never got one, oddly enough). Not requests for corrections, mind you, but full takedowns, saying the sexual misconduct and harassment claims that torpedoed his public life were nothing but a political hit job.
Caserta’s latest gambit involves a polygraph test, which—in a press release prepared by temporarily disbarred attorney John Mlnarik and making the rounds on a national wire—he crows about passing with flying colors.
Per the statement, he took the test on Jan. 21 “in an attempt to dispel all duplicitous accusations” by his most vocal accuser, ex-campaign staffer Lydia Jungkind.
“Mr. Caserta was questioned on various incidents pertaining to the allegations after being accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with female students during his time as a teacher and candidate for Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors,” it reads.
The examiner, who boasts of proctoring 11,000 such tests, says Caserta passed with a damn-near perfect score of 99.9 percent. “The primary accuser of the 2018 allegations, Lydia Jungkind, has not participated in a polygraph,” the prepared statement adds. (For what it’s worth, she says she was never asked to.)
The news release goes on to say that Caserta maintains his innocence and that “an incident was made in an effort to derail his front-leading status” as a supervisorial candidate. It doesn’t specify the singular incident he’s referring to.
Was it the time then-19-year-old Jungkind says her married boss caressed her thigh in his car? Or the times she says he awkwardly hugged her, kissed her cheeks, made flirty comments or offered her drugs and booze?
Maybe by “an incident” Caserta means the claims coming out how and when they did, by former campaign coordinator Ian Crueldad blowing the whistle a month away from the primary election, as though the timing of the revelations undermines their veracity.
While the press release singles out Jungkind and a politically motivated incident Caserta implies she manufactured, the claims stemmed from dozens of other accusers as well. And they spanned the better part of two decades, from the early 2000s at the start of Caserta’s teaching career to just days before they came to light in spring of 2018.
Yet Caserta elides mention of which questions he fielded, or whether any addressed allegations from other accusers, such as the ones who filed police reports against him or had their claims documented in his personnel file at Santa Clara Unified.
When Santa Clara County Assistant District Attorney Terry Harman declined to prosecute Caserta citing “insufficient evidence,” she stressed that the decision in no way diminished the credibility of the accusers.
“They didn’t prosecute him because they didn’t have a smoking gun,” Jungkind says, “which is always the reason these guys get away with it.”
All we can infer from the polygraph, really, is that Caserta voluntarily answered questions he prepared for while maintaining a steady pulse and even breathing. Whether that proves his truthfulness and blamelessness, as he purports it to, is a matter of debate.