California Democratic Party chairman Eric Bauman has been placed under investigation following multiple charges of sexual harassment.
State party vice chairman Daraka Larimore-Hall filed paperwork Friday to remove Bauman after claiming to have heard the allegations for the first time during at an executive meeting the previous week. In a letter to state Democratic executives, Larimore-Hall wrote that he had spoken to the alleged victims and their tales "illustrate a clear and escalating pattern of Chairman Bauman’s horrific and dehumanizing behavior."
"Their stories are devastating," Larimore-Hall wrote in the letter, which he then shared on Facebook. "I believe them."
Larimore-Hall did not go into detail about what sort of behavior was alleged, other than that it was "sexual harassment and assault" and "unacceptable for a political organization dedicated to feminism, human rights and just working working[sic] conditions. Our activists and voters look to us as a force for social change, and we must embody the values we fight for in society."
In a statement of his own, Bauman, the California Democratic Party's first openly gay chairman, confirmed that allegations had been made and that the party had brought in outside investigators.
"I take seriously any allegation brought forward by anyone who believes they have been caused pain," Bauman said. "To that end, a prompt, thorough and independent investigation of the allegations has been undertaken by a respected outside investigator, ensuring these individuals making the charges are treated with respect and free from any concerns of retaliation."
"I look forward to putting these allegations behind us and moving forward as unified Democrats," he concluded.
Freelance journalist Yashar Ali responded on Twitter that the denial was "absurd," claiming he had personally witnessed Bauman harass other men.
Bauman’s statement is absurd…years ago, I witnessed him sexually harass men. https://t.co/VzX6DYbSYn
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) November 26, 2018