DA: Orange County Councilman Accused of Sexual Battery Targeted Employees

Carlos Bustamante was arrested on his way to a city council meeting Monday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    OC District Attorney outlines the charges against Santa Ana City Council member Carlos Bustamante. Angie Crouch reports for NBC4 at noon on Tuesday, July 3, 2012.

    A Santa Ana City Council member accused of sexual battery and other charges was described Tuesday as a "well-connected" man who used his management power to prey on female employees. 

    More details were released Tuesday when the Orange County District Attorney outlined charges against Carlos Bustamante, the former administration manager for the Orange County Public Works Department who was arrested on his way to a city council meeting Monday.

    Santa Ana Councilman Arrested; Charged With Several Felonies

    [LA] Santa Ana Councilman Arrested; Charged With Several Felonies
    While on his way to a city council meeting Monday afternoon, Santa Ana councilman Carlos Bustamante was arrested on several charges, including sexual battery and felony false imprisonment, police said. Beverly White reports from Santa Ana for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on July 2, 2012

    "He had a type," said OC District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. "County employees who were subordinate to the defendant and women who were emotionally vulnerable."

    Jail records showed that Bustamante was released overnight after posting bond.

    He faces the following charges:

    • Six felony counts of false imprisonment
    • Three felony counts of assault with the intent to commit a sexual offense
    • One felony count each of stalking, attempted sexual battery by restraint, and grand theft by false pretense
    • One misdemeanor count each of battery, assault, sexual battery, and attempted sexual battery with a sentencing enhancement allegation for committing the offenses as a result of sexual compulsion and for the purpose of sexual gratification

    During the news conference, Rackauckas read from victims' statements obtained during the investigation.

    "'He was really close to our (human  resources) manager,'" one woman told investigators, Rackauckas said. "'Everyone's under Carlos, pretty much, everyone. He's like  mister, like a god kind of thing.'''

    The encounters occurred at Bustamante's office, stairwells, cars in parking lots and other remote areas, Rackauckas said.

    "Once they arrived (at the office), he cornered them by closing the door behind them," Rackauckas said.

    Arraignment in the case was scheduled for Thursday morning. Calls to Bustamante seeking comment were not immediately returned.

    Bustamante resigned from the public works post in October. In a statement, he addressed anonymous letters detailing alleged sexual misconduct with employees that prompted a weeks-long internal investigation.

    "The allegations in the anonymous letters were unsubstantiated because they are not true," Bustamante said in a statement at the time. "Therefore I have decided to resign my position with the county and pursue a career in the private sector."

    The accusations also involve fraud-related crimes linked Bustamante's participation in a 2010 program at the Harvard Kennedy School in Boston. During the more-than two week trip, Bustamante paid more than $3,000 in tuition for the school's Senior Executives in State and Local Government program, according to the District Attorney.

    "The trip, when you add the tuition, meals, airfare, an extra bag, lodging and taxis, should have cost $12,791 and change," Rackauckas said. "Bustamante should have paid at least $3,200. 

    "When his paper shell game was finished shuffling, the county paid for 97 percent of the junket, instead the agreed upon 75 percent."

    Bustamante, who made $170,000 per year working for the county, has been a Santa Ana city councilman since 2004. His term expires in November.