Democratic Party, Labor Officials Accused of Sexual Harassment Face Internal Investigations

Erik Taylor, the former executive director of the Democratic Party of Orange County and Julio Perez, the executive director of the Orange County Labor Federation, both face internal investigations after several women posted allegations of sexual harassment and abuse against the two men on social media.

As a result of the allegations, Taylor resigned from his position Oct. 19 as the campaign manager for Democratic congressional candidate Phil Janowicz, Janowicz confirmed Monday.

Democratic Party chairwoman Fran Sdao said last week the party would conduct an investigation into the allegations, although she would not mention Taylor by name.

And Perez now also is the subject of an internal investigation, said Orange County Employees Association general manager Jennifer Beuthin on Monday. Beuthin, who is answering media inquiries about the allegations on behalf of the Labor Federation, would not comment on Perez’s current employment status.

“There is no place for sexual assault and harassment in our county, but it exists everywhere, as evidenced by the #metoo movement,” said Gilbert Davila, president of the Labor Federation, in a brief statement issued Friday. “We know that even though we fight against harassment on a daily basis, we are also not immune from it happening in our house.”

As part of the #metoo campaign – a social media campaign aimed at raising awareness of sexual harassment and assault – several women posted accounts on Facebook last week of harassment that allegedly occurred when they were employees or interns at the Democratic Party and Labor Federation.

Those posts also prompted a press release by the chairwoman of the Orange County Young Democrats, Danielle Serbin.

“Specifically, women are speaking out about men in power at the Democratic Party of Orange County and/or the Orange County Labor Federation who have tried to undress young women in the workplace, sent young women pornographic images and memes, and joked about porn with young interns,” the press release, which did not name the men, stated.

Serbin also told the Orange County Register that in 2015 at the Democratic Party headquarters, “one of the men allegedly touched a woman’s thigh, prompting her to flee to safety in a supply closet where he cornered her.”

“In other incidents, the same man allegedly pushed his body against the woman and reached under her skirt and tried to remove her underwear,” the Register reported.

OC Weekly, which first reported the allegations of harassment Oct. 18, also posted images of sexually suggestive messages that were allegedly sent by Taylor to an intern while he still ran the county’s Democratic Party.

Neither Taylor nor Perez returned calls for comment Monday.

Contact Thy Vo at tvo@voiceofoc.org or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.