Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

O.C. councilman lured women into office, groped them, D.A. says

A former Orange County official and current Santa Ana City Councilman lured women into his office during business hours, cornered them and proceeded to hug, kiss and grope them, Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas said Tuesday.

Carlos Bustamante, who has been charged with sexually assaulting seven women and committing grand theft of public funds, allegedly targeted victims whom he worked with at the Orange County Public Works Department.

Rackauckas said Bustamante, who was a former county executive, would frequently comment on the victims’ physical appearance and made sexual comments about them, sometimes around other people.

He would call or email women and ask them to come into his office for work-related matters but would then close the door and corner them.

“Many of his victims believed that Bustamante’s office was sound-proofed and that if they screamed, nobody would hear them anyway,” Rackauckas said.

Over eight years, the victims were assaulted in cubicles, offices, stairwells and vehicles, Rackauckas said.

Bustamante allegedly stalked one of his victims after she refused to continue a sexual relationship with him, according to the district attorney.

In a news conference Tuesday, Rackauckas said the women believed that Bustamante was very “well-connected” and was seen as being friendly with the county’s human resources manager.

One woman even mentioned that Bustamante seemed “untouchable.”

Prosecutors intend to introduce evidence regarding 12 additional alleged victims; they could not charge Bustamante with the crimes because of the statute of limitations, they said.

Bustamante resigned from his county post in October amid allegations of sexual assault.

An anonymous letter triggered a county investigation, and a report was forwarded to the district attorney’s office in March.

Investigators are seeking additional information about the alleged crimes.

“The investigation still has a long ways to go,” Rackauckas said.

Bustamante is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Santa Ana.


Flag-waving weather: Skies should be clear for 4th of July

Santa Ana councilman faces 12 counts in alleged sex assaults

Cudahy group wants 'immediate action' amid corruption scandal

-- Nicole Santa Cruz in Santa Ana

Comments () | Archives (0)


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: