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Gay Congressional Hopeful Faces Second Harassment Allegation

Gay Congressional Hopeful Faces Second Harassment Allegation


Another former campaign worker has accused Carl DeMaio of sexual harassment. Meanwhile, DeMaio has blocked the reporter who broke the story from his Twitter feed.

Another allegation of sexual harassment by gay congressional candidate Carl DeMaio has surfaced, and he's reportedly blocked the journalist who broke the story from his Twitter account, along with some other reporters.

Justin Harper, a 25-year-old campaign volunteer, quit in July after an incident he said took place in the restroom at DeMaio's campaign office in San Diego, radio station KPBS reported Sunday.

"I was at the urinal, and [DeMaio] came from the stall that was closest to the urinal and was kind of just standing there hovering," Harper told the station. "I turned around and realized that it was Carl. He had his pants up, but his fly was undone, and he had his hand over, not over, grasping his genitals." They said nothing to each other, and Harper left the restroom, he said. Harper left the campaign July 12, two days after the alleged incident.

Harper, a Navy veteran, decided to go public about the matter after receiving encouragement from other vets, he told KPBS. A previous allegation of sexual harassment against DeMaio came from former campaign policy director
Todd Bosnich.

DeMaio and his staff say such allegations are lies. "Reporters with journalistic integrity have dismissed these false smears because they've been peddled by the same people fired from the campaign months ago -- and the district attorney dismissed these false allegations weeks ago," campaign spokesman Dave McCulloch told KPBS. "KPBS is reckless in reporting this outrageous lie."

Meanwhile, Claire Trageser, the reporter who did the KPBS story, noticed she was blocked from DeMaio's Twitter account last Friday, before her story aired, reports the Poynter Institute, a journalism school in Florida, on its website. She had previously reported on the lack of access that some journalists had to DeMaio. Also, the editor of San Diego CityBeat said his entire staff had been blocked. DeMaio's organization has yet to respond to Poynter's request for comment on the matter or to The Advocate's.

DeMaio, a Republican and a former member of the San Diego City Council, is in a close race against incumbent Democrat Scott Peters in California's 52nd Congressional District.

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