Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio called a news report accusing him of masturbating in a San Diego City Hall restroom as “disgusting, humiliating and nothing more than a character assassination attempt.”
The former San Diego City councilmember and 2012 mayoral hopeful became emotional after speaking with NBC 7 News about allegations published Thursday in a “Voice of Orange County” article.
Quoting former City Councilmember and current Democratic State Sen. Ben Hueso, the article claims that in 2009, city officials and members of the press knew that DeMaio, a Republican, would regularly excuse himself from Council Chambers to masturbate in the bathroom.
In an exclusive interview with NBC 7, DeMaio offered up results of a polygraph taken Aug. 26.
Paul Redden, a polygraph examiner often used by local law enforcement agencies and defense attorneys alike, asked DeMaio if he recalled masturbating in the City Hall bathroom when Ben Hueso walked in. A second question asked if Ben Hueso ever saw DeMaio masturbate.
The polygraph examiner concluded “subject was not attempting deception when he answered ‘no' to the above relevant questions.”
On behalf of DeMaio, attorney Robert Ottilie sent a letter to the "Voice of Orange County" on Friday demanding it publish a correction.
“In politics, you see people make accusations all the time. And you know, I’ve had people criticize me before and I usually let it roll off my back,” DeMaio said.
“But this one crosses the line. It’s so gross. It’s so false, that I have to speak out. I have to present the truth.”
DeMaio, who announced in May his intention to run against newly-elected Democratic Rep. Scott Peters in San Diego's 52nd Congressional District, said he thought the rumor was dead after 2009. Then, he said the same story was “shopped around” to local newspapers in October 2012 during a heated mayoral race with now-outgoing Mayor Bob Filner.
“Local papers in San Diego saw it for being a lie and dismissed it,” DeMaio said. “And now, conveniently the timing, of bringing it out right as a new mayoral race starts. It’s very clear what this is.”
Demaio blamed Hueso and organized labor for spreading the accusations, the same groups he said worked to get Bob Filner into office.
Hueso's office told NBC 7 that he stands by the statements he made, but is not available to be interviewed further.
In the article, Hueso was quoted as saying former Councilmember Tony Young once described a DeMaio masturbation incident to him.
Young issued us a statement today, saying: "During my tenure with the city I never witnessed Mr. DeMaio do anything inappropriate as a member of the City Council."
Calls to labor leaders and political opponents or other councilmembers mentioned in the disputed coverage were not returned to NBC 7.
NBC 7 News was not aware of the allegations until the article was published Thursday.