By Ken Stone
Kevin Beiser, the San Diego Unified school board member and award-winning teacher, allegedly sodomized a congressional intern in 2013 and continued to abuse the San Diego man over the next five years, according to a bombshell lawsuit filed Monday.
The alleged victim, who later served as Beiser’s campaign manager and ran for San Diego City Council in 2016, also is suing Beiser’s spouse, Dan Mock, blaming him for not taking steps to protect him at the couple’s home.
The San Diego County Democratic Party Central Committee approved a resolution 58-4 Tuesday night calling for Beiser’s resignation from the school board after earlier citing “the heinous nature of the allegations.”“Our party will move quickly to ensure the safety of our members, to secure justice for survivors and to hold accountable any public official who would seek to use their power to abuse others,” said party chairman Will Rodriguez-Kennedy.
The San Diego Superior Court lawsuit, first reported Monday night by The San Diego Union-Tribune, seeks past and future economic and noneconomic damages, unspecified punitive damages and other penalties.
“The bottom line is this case will be tried unless settled first,” said Dan Gilleon, the accuser’s lawyer.
The alleged victim is identified (and known to the U-T and Times of San Diego), but Gilleon is asking the court to put that version of the complaint under seal.
“It should be noted that the redacted complaint — which would be public — is exactly the same as the complaint to be sealed, except that it uses a fictitious name for the plaintiff, John Doe,” Gilleon wrote the court.
“Given the narrowly tailored manner this application seeks to protect a sexual assault victim, there is ‘no less restrictive’ means to achieve this overriding interest of sex crime victims.”
In October, Gilleon won 17 female dancers a nearly $1.5 million settlement after suing the City of San Diego over police raids of strip clubs in 2013 and 2014. The downtown-based attorney also represented several women who settled various suits with former labor leader Mickey Kasparian.
Early Tuesday, Gilleon told Times of San Diego that if the court so orders, “the complaint will remain sealed so theoretically [the alleged victim’s] name will never become public record.”
But Gilleon worries that Beiser and others will attack the victim and “make up all sorts of nefarious reasons why he’s bringing the lawsuit. It’s what sexual predators do.”
The Union-Tribune quoted the alleged victim as saying he sued to prevent others from being abused.
“I have nothing to gain from this,” he told the U-T. “So for me, I just want him … I want it to stop.”
The suit specifically alleges sexual battery, assault and harassment, hostile work environment, gender violence, breach of due care and premises liability.
According to the 11-page suit, Beiser “repeatedly and continuously exploited his position as a powerful elected official with the school board, and his business relationship with Mr. Doe, to pressure and coerce plaintiff into sexually abusive interactions.”
Tuesday night, Beiser issued a statement saying: “There is no truth to these allegations. We believe they are politically motivated and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves.”
Meanwhile, Voice of San Diego reported that four men – “all young, all politically ambitious, all early in their careers” — have recounted sexual harassment or unwanted sexual touching from Beiser.
School district spokeswoman Maureen Magee said: “As this matter will be handled by the courts, the district has no comment on the pending litigation.”
Beiser and Doe first met around June 27, 2013, in Washington, D.C., when the alleged victim was a San Diego State University political science student interning for three months with Rep. Susan Davis.
Beiser offered Doe a chance to work with him on his campaign in San Diego after Doe’s college internship ended, the suit says.
The next day, it says, Doe emailed Beiser confirming his interest in the work.
“Mr. Beiser replied that he was looking forward to working together, but then invited Mr. Doe to JR’s Bar, a D.C. gay bar where Mr. Beiser falsely claimed he would be with ‘some friends,’” the suit says. “Beiser added, ‘You are welcome to join us, even if you are not gay. Lol.’
“Thinking the powerful politician was at JR’s as part of a group, and hoping to expand his political contacts, Mr. Doe accepted the invitation even though he was not gay and had never had sex with a man.”
But at the bar, Doe discovered that friends weren’t gathering, the suit says.
“Mr. Beiser was with one man who quickly left when plaintiff arrived. Mr. Beiser began buying drinks for Mr. Doe — round after round — and acted as if he were drinking himself. … When Mr. Doe was incapacitated by alcohol, Mr. Beiser took him to a hotel and sodomized him,” the suit says.
Doe first became aware he had been date-raped when he woke up in Beiser’s hotel room, the suit says.
“Mr. Doe told Mr. Beiser he felt ashamed and regretted what had happened, but Mr. Beiser responded with more unwanted sexual advances that Mr. Doe meekly tried to ignore,” the suit says.
But Beiser sensed trouble, the suit claims, and promised to give Doe work when he returned to San Diego, “which Mr. Doe sensed was a quid pro quo offer in exchange for not taking legal action against Mr. Beiser for the prior evening’s sexual assault.”
Back in San Diego, Doe said he’d accept the job — but only if Beiser agreed to a “strictly professional” relationship, the suit says.
Beiser voiced agreement, it said, “but the promises proved hollow.”
The suit says that from January to November 2014 — during his second run for school board in District B — Beiser created a sexually offensive and hostile work environment at the campaign headquarters (his and Mock’s Serra Mesa home).
Among other things, the plaintiff alleged that Beiser:
- Sat next to him on the couch and tried to seduce him.
- Offered to take him into a back room and give him a full body massage.
- Solicited oral sex.
- Offered him drinks and marijuana, saying: “You’re way more fun when you’re drunk.”
- Invited him to gay bars and urged him to “hook up with gay dudes.”
- And invited him to take off his clothes and join Beiser and other gay men in the pool and “infamous hot tub.”
As the 2014 school board race wound down, Doe began avoiding contact with Beiser, the suit says.
“Having graduated with a political science degree in June 2014, Mr. Doe was fully engaged in San Diego politics and regularly attended political events where he would encounter Mr. Beiser, largely without incident,” the suit says.
But in 2016, when Doe sought Beiser’s help fund-raising for his own campaign for the San Diego City Council, Beiser allegedly commented that “since plaintiff was not working for him anymore, he was free to engage in the sexual advances that plaintiff had always rejected.”
Beiser continued the sexual harassment and became even more aggressive and
physically abusive, the suit said.
The suit says Doe tried to fend off advances with “Please don’t touch me!” or by screaming “Consent!” as “Beiser approached him with that look in his eye.”
After one alleged assault in May 2016, “in which Mr. Beiser dry humped plaintiff’s leg and grabbed plaintiff’s genitals, Mr. Doe and his girlfriend confronted Mr. Beiser, demanding that he never touch plaintiff like that again,” the suit says.
Tony Krvaric, chairman of the county Republican Party, said “the sheer number of, and graphic details in, the accusations against Kevin Beiser are shocking. We call for a full and immediate investigation and urge anyone with additional information to contact San Diego Police Department.”
If any of these allegations are “remotely true,” Krvaric said Tuesday afternoon, Beiser should resign immediately.
“We understand that rumors have been swirling about Kevin Beiser and his ‘pool parties’ for some time and ask San Diego Democrats if they knew about these allegations while they enthusiastically supported his re-election in 2018?”
The president and vice president of Hillcrest-based San Diego Democrats for Equality earlier expressed outrage over Beiser’s alleged behavior.
“We are deeply disappointed and offended that any elected official — especially a member of our LGBTQ community — would behave and act so inappropriately in the manner alleged against Mr. Beiser,” said the club’s Rodriguez-Kennedy and Ryan Trabuco, vice president for resource development.
In a statement Tuesday morning, the pair said the club stands on the side of justice and support “for those survivors and victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault. In light of these serious allegations, we will be bringing forth an emergency resolution calling for Mr. Beiser to resign” from the school board.
At National City’s Granger Junior High School in 2008, Beiser was named San Diego Math Teacher of the Year by the Greater San Diego Math Council, according to an sdgln.com story.
Beiser, a Democrat who also has served as president of the San Diego Unified School District board, is now listed as a math teacher at Castle Park Middle School in Chula Vista. Beiser also is listed as a potential District 7 candidate for San Diego City Council in the March 2020 primary.
According to San Diego Pride, Beiser’s partner Mock in 2016 won a Stonewall Athlete Award — “given to a player who most exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship with ethical behavior, fair play, and integrity across multiple sports and athletic competition in the San Diego region.”
Story updated at 9 p.m. March 19, 2019.
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