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Labor Leader Mickey Kasparian Accused Of Sexual Assault In New Suit

December 15, 2017 12:51 p.m.

Labor Leader Mickey Kasparian Accused Of Sexual Assault In New Suit

GUEST:

Joshua Stewart, politics and county government reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Related Story: Labor Leader Mickey Kasparian Accused Of Sexual Assault In New Suit

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

Our top story midday edition new allegations have surfaced against Mickey Kasparian and this time they include sexual assault. Last year he was forced out as head of the regional labor Council went up employee accused him of forcing her into a sexual relationship. This type a government employee is suing him for allegedly pinning her down on the sofa and groping her. Joining me is Joshua Stewart, politics and county government reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune . Welcome.Thank you for having me.Remind us who Mickey Kasparian is .He is the president of the United Food and commercial workers 135, which is a labor union that represents grocery store clerks and pharmacists and others. He is also partly the present of a coalition of unions from San Diego and Imperial counties that was influential. After allegations of that behavior surfaced last year, he splintered from the organization to find his own you group. He's been a democratic politic. He can help campaign by putting boots on the ground and helping money cash with money.There were two accusations last year what were they?One was from a woman who worked for him for 15 years who said that she was pressured into a ongoing sexual relationship with him. She said last year and there was another woman who sued alleging that she was fired from her position at the union after her husband took a political stance that crossed his own interest. Both cases he denies all wrongdoing and he said that he has not had any sort of intimate contact with anyone.What is different about the latest lawsuit?It is the first where he is accused of any sort of forcible sexual contact. The accuser who works for county government said that on multiple occasions Mickey Kasparian had groped her and and one instance , he pinned her down onto his sofa at the offices of local 135. He tried unsuccessfully to arrange a four some with her another woman. He denies all of this to be clear. He says it did not happen. In a statement of -- he questioned her credibility.He referred to other women who will vouch for him to expectThat is correct. I spoke with two woman and they're both active in the labor community. Both made statements to me that attack Melanie's credibility. They said they are skeptical of some of things that she has said.Last year's allegations came before the post Harvey Weinstein wave of women alleging sexual contact.This is been going on for a year and San Diego Democrats this is not their first time dealing with a man empower accused of fraud. Democrats have had a zero tolerance policy where they're quick to come down and remove men that have been accused of mistreating women of -- out of their positions. The local Democratic Party is much more split. There are some people that are remaining silent and not seeing anything about Mickey Kasparian but others like David Alvarez have called for him to step down. They've taken a tech more line with the Democratic Party in they did not before Harvey Weinstein. There hasn't been this crackdown that we've seen elsewhere.What are the next steps for the lawsuits?The first two there headed to summary judgment early next year, which means that they could be dismissed or decided without going to a full public trial. It is very common procedure to try to get cases soft on summary judgment. For the one that was filed on Wednesday, that is getting started. That will take time to do the preliminary steps.I've been speaking with Joshua Stewart, politics and county government reporter, The San Diego Union-Tribune . Thank you.Thank you so much.