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Investigation Into Calif. Democratic Chairman Accused Of Sexual Misconduct

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The chair of the California Democratic Party is under investigation by his own party following allegations of sexual misconduct.

Eric Bauman, the former longtime chair of the L.A. County Democrats, is accused of sexual misconduct and sexual assault.

Eric Bauman
FILE -- Chairman of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party Eric Bauman (R) speaks onstage during the Yes on Prop 62 Coalition Announcement at Los Angeles Grand Park on July 14, 2016 in Los Angeles. (Phillip Faraone/Getty Images)

According to the Sacramento Bee, Vice Chairman Daraka Larimore-Hall Friday began initiating proceedings to have Bauman removed.

In a letter sent to the party's executive board last week, Larimore-Hall wrote that he had learned that Bauman had "sexually harassed, and in some cases sexually assaulted, individuals during Party functions," the Bee reports.

On Saturday night, Bauman responded with a statement in which he did not address the allegations, but acknowledged that an independent investigation was underway.

"I look forward to putting these allegations behind us and moving forward as unified Democrats," Bauman said in the statement.

"These allegations are very troubling and deserve a full and thorough investigation," Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom said in his own statement Sunday.

Larimore-Hall said in the letter that he learned of the allegations during a recent party executive board meeting a week ago. He said he had spoken to two of the alleged victims and that their stories "illustrate a clear and escalating pattern of Chairman Bauman"s horrific and dehumanizing behavior."

The exact details of the allegations were not disclosed in the letter.

State Democratic Party sources told the Los Angeles Times that the outside counsel hired to investigate the allegations is Debra Henshaw Vierra, an employment law attorney at the Sacramento law firm Churchwell White.

Bauman has been under investigation for at least one harassment complaint involving employees prior to the Nov. 6 election, sources familiar with the investigation told the newspaper.

Bauman was elected chairman of the party in 2017, after a closely contested election against progressive activist Kimberly Ellis. A former nurse and organizer, he led the L.A. County Democrats for 17 years and also served as vice chairman for the statewide party for eight years.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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