San Diego school member Kevin Beiser has settled a civil lawsuit brought by a former aide who accused him of rape and five years of abuse, according to court records.
A minute order posted Tuesday by Judge Frederic Link said “Case is settled” after a settlement conference held Friday in private quarters. No details were available, but the action avoids a potentially explosive trial.
On Friday, Dan Gilleon, attorney for accuser “John Doe,” left downtown San Diego Superior Court without formally confirming a settlement, but said “I can’t say anything” and it was “confidential.”
The deal was reached behind closed doors on the 22nd floor of the new courthouse. Judge Link hosted the settlement conference, which included co-defendant Dan Mock, Beiser’s spouse.
Also present Friday were Beiser attorneys Bob Ottilie and Deborah Raymond and “Doe” attorney Samuel Clemens. The court record also shows the presence of Gregory Blick, litigation adjuster on behalf of Wawanesa Insurance.
Doe’s identity is under seal, but his name is known to several news outlets, including Times of San Diego, who have agreed to keep his name confidential.
A spokeswoman for the San Diego Unified School District didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Beiser, Mock and his lawyers entered the courtroom at 9:32 a.m. through the public entrance, but the school board member exited via a side door for court personnel nearly three hours later, escaping questions from reporters camped in the hallway.
“Upon completion of the conference, all parties were escorted to the north exit (next to the public restrooms) and left the building via the public elevators,” a court spokeswoman said. “No employee/judge elevators were used.”
With more than three years left on his District B term, the 2009 San Diego Math Teacher of the Year has been under fire by board colleagues, who unanimously called for his resignation in April.
If Beiser resigns, the school board has 60 days to order an election or make a provisional appointment to fill the vacancy, according to the state Education Code.
“A governing board member may not defer the effective date of his or her resignation for more than 60 days after he or she files the resignation with the county superintendent of schools,” the code says.
Three other men told Voice of San Diego in mid-March that the one-time school board president abused them, too.
They “shared stories that include substantial similarities to some of the accusations spelled out in the lawsuit, including unwanted groping of their genitalia, invitations to Beiser’s pool and hot tub and uncomfortable interactions in which Beiser leveraged his political influence,” reported Andy Keatts.
The Democrat, elected nine years ago, also was urged to resign by county Democratic leaders by a 58-4 vote and by other groups and politicians.
Beiser filed to run for Scott Sherman’s District 7 seat on the San Diego City Council and reported raising $20,000 in the first six month of 2019 (with some of that returned). He hasn’t formally withdrawn from the March 2020 race.
The alleged victim, who later served as Beiser’s campaign manager and ran for San Diego City Council in 2016, also sued Mock, blaming him for not taking steps to protect him at the couple’s home.
The San Diego Superior Court lawsuit sought past and future economic and noneconomic damages, unspecified punitive damages and other penalties.
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.
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.”
In March, 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.”
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 said.
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 said.
“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).
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 said.
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.
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.”