A California Democratic Party employee filed a sexual assault and harassment lawsuit Wednesday stemming from alleged actions by former county and state party chairman Eric Bauman, who resigned in November amid misconduct allegations.
The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit by William Floyd names both the state and Los Angeles County Democratic parties, along with Bauman.
According to his attorneys, Floyd contends in the lawsuit that Bauman forced him to submit to oral sex on three occasions, repeatedly groped him and made sexually inappropriate comments to and about Floyd during his employment with the county and state Democratic parties.
Bauman could not be reached for comment. There was no immediate response to a request for comment from the county and state Democratic parties.
Floyd, a 27-year-old gay man, began working with the county Democratic Party in 2015 as an assistant to Bauman, and he was subsequently hired by the state party when Bauman became chairman of the California Democrats, according to his attorneys.
The lawsuit claims that in addition to forcibly performing oral sex on Floyd on three occasions, Bauman also committed harassing acts such as fondling Floyd’s genital and thigh areas and making suggestive comments about Floyd’s appearance.
In a statement, Floyd said party leaders “ignored Eric’s drinking and his vicious attacks on people. Most of us lived in fear of him. A few people cared, but their voices were drowned out by so many others who didn’t want to cross Eric or do anything to stop him. No one from the party has even apologized to me for what happened.”
Bauman initially took a leave of absence from the party last year amid an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations, but he opted to resign in November.
“I have made the realization that in order for those to whom I may have caused pain and who need to heal, for my own health, and in the best interest of the party that I love and to which I have dedicated myself for more than 25 years, it is in everyone’s best interest for me to resign my position as chair of the California Democratic Party,” he said in a statement.
“My dream was to create an environment at the CDP where the officers were partners, actual participants in the planning and operation of the party; where delegates and staff could share their ideas and concerns; where outreach into key communities was not limited to the campaign cycle, but was a permanent year-round commitment; where our meetings were focused on our delegates and their interests and needs; where new and creative ideas, concepts and technologies were tested, adopted and integrated; where the most innovative, sophisticated and comprehensive campaigns could be built and executed, and as a result we could engage and participate in all parts of the state; where Democrats could be elected in places long written off as unlikely, unwinnable or unimaginable; and that our relationships with grassroots groups, labor and our legislative leadership and political teams would grow and be strengthened.
“I leave knowing that in 18 short months we did all of that,” he said.
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 Los Angeles County Democrats for 17 years and also served as vice chairman for the statewide party for eight years.
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