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Orange County CEO may be ousted over handling of sex abuse claims

July 26, 2012 |  8:43 am

 Santa Ana City Councilman Carlos Bustamante

A former Orange County executive accused of the battery and sexual assault of seven women over an eight-year period is due in court Thursday morning to enter a plea.

Santa Ana City Councilman Carlos Bustamante, 47, is set to appear in a Santa Ana courtroom accused of more than 12 felonies and four misdemeanors in the case. Authorities say he abused women in his office when he was an executive in the county's public works department.

His attorney, James Riddet, has filed for dismissal of the charges over the conduct of Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas. Riddet claims that Rackauckas has exposed lurid details about the case to the public, tainting Bustamante's right to a fair trial.

Many in the county expect fallout as a result of the charges. Already Bustamante's supervisor, Jess Carbajal, has been terminated with cause. Another administrator is on a medical leave. In addition, supervisors have called a special meeting Thursday to discuss the possible termination of the county's highest ranking administrator, Chief Executive Tom Mauk.

Mauk knew about complaints regarding Bustamante dating back to March 2011, a year before the allegations were handed over to the district attorney.


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Photo: Santa Ana City Councilman Carlos Bustamante at his first appearance in Orange County Superior Court on July 5. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times