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Following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, Kevin Beiser is on leave from his job as a middle school math teacher in Chula Vista, and facing calls to resign from his colleagues and high-profile Democrats across the county.
A group of powerful LGBTQ leaders from across the San Diego region also urged Beiser to resign in a joint statement Wednesday.
Four men told Voice of San Diego that Beiser either harassed, groped or assaulted them. One of the men filed a lawsuit against Beiser on Monday, alleging sexual harassment and assault. The men were all young, politically ambitious and looking to Beiser, an important player in the local Democratic Party, for work and mentorship.
Beiser has denied the men’s allegations.
“We believe they are politically motivated and intend to vigorously defend ourselves,” he wrote in a statement to VOSD.
But three of Beiser’s fellow San Diego Unified board members, including the board president, have called for him to resign.
“Based on the additional serious, multiple and credible allegations against Kevin Beiser, I am recommending that Mr. Beiser resign from the school board now,” board Trustee John Lee Evans wrote to VOSD in an email.
Both Evans and Trustee Richard Barrera said that while Beiser has every right to defend himself in court, he cannot serve effectively on the school board while doing so.
“Given the events of the last 24 hours, and the fact that there are now multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against Trustee Beiser, I believe the time has come for him to step down,” Board President Sharon Whitehurst-Payne wrote to VOSD in an email.
Whitehurst-Payne said the board will discuss “board member conduct and expectations,” due to the recent revelations, at its next meeting on April 16.
Trustee Michael McQuary did not respond to a request for comment.
Beiser teaches at Castle Park Middle School in the Sweetwater Union High School District. Sweetwater spokesman Manny Rubio said Beiser will not be returning to the classroom for at least the next several weeks.
Rubio would not say whether Beiser’s leave was mandatory or voluntary. He said Beiser would not be in the classroom through at least the end of spring break, which ends April 8, according to Sweetwater’s calendar.
On Tuesday night, the San Diego County Democratic Party passed a resolution calling for Beiser’s resignation.
In a joint statement, Sen. Toni Atkins, Assemblyman Todd Gloria, San Diego City Council members Georgette Gomez, Jennifer Campbell, Chris Ward and others called for Beiser’s resignation Tuesday.
“As LGBT elected officials who are committed to changing the overarching cultural and political climate to prevent sexual harassment, we want to ensure that every complaint is fully investigated and appropriately decided,” the statement read. “That said, even following the principles of due process, there are cases, especially those with multiple and severe allegations, where the obvious right thing is for the accused to step away from their position. This is one of those cases.”
Barrera said it was unclear what would happen to Beiser’s seat if he does resign.
Beiser was first elected to the school board in 2010. He was re-elected in 2018 for a term that runs through 2022. If Beiser were in the last half of his four-year term, his fellow board members could simply appoint a replacement.
Since he is in the first half, they could either hold a special election, or potentially appoint someone to fill the seat until 2020, Barrera said. In that case, Beiser’s District B seat – which covers the northeastern part of the district – would be up for election in 2020 and 2022 to get it back on the right election-year track.