Murrieta Mayor Accused Of Molesting Woman In A Parking Lot
A woman has accused Murrieta Mayor Harry Ramos of molesting her at Chamber of Commerce mixer in January. Kathleen Smith says Murietta Mayor Harry Ramos, who is married with three children, forcibly kissed her and put his hand up her skirt after an event at the Murrieta Spectrum shopping center on January 22, the Press Enterprise reports. She came forward and announced her intention to file a claim against the mayor at a press conference yesterday.
At the time of the alleged incident, Smith was working as a sales rep for a radio station in Temecula and was at the Chamber of Commerce mixer because of her job. Smith said she had not been previously acquainted with Ramos before the event, but that he made several advances towards her throughout the evening. At the end of the night, she said he offered to walk her to her car.
"When we got to the car I was hoping that he would realize that I wasn't interested in him, I had absolutely no attraction to Mr. Ramos, but I was trying to be polite, because that's how I was brought up," said Smith at a press conference. "Without asking, he grabbed me and he started to kiss me, putting his tongue in my mouth and I was stunned and shocked."
She said he also put his hand up her skirt and grabbed her legs and butt, NBC LA reports. She said that after that night, she did not hear from him again. Smith said that she later quit her job due to shame the experience caused her to feel.
On June 16, before Smith came forward with her story, numerous speakers showed up to a council meeting and said Ramos had violated the council's code of conduct. He was accused by various speakers of threatening to fire staff members, making disparaging comments about others and trying to use his position as mayor to get things for free. Ramos agreed to an investigation. Smith's lawyer said that the investigator hired to look into Ramos contacted Smith after witnesses told him what they'd seen in the parking lot that night, which led to Smith coming forward.
Smith said that she did not immediately report the incident because she has struggled with abuse and coming forward in the past, but that she also wants to be an example to her 13-year-old daughter. She said that she did not want to be "Harry Ramos' silent victim" anymore.
Ramos called Smith's allegations "100 percent not true" and "completely false," CBS LA reports. When CBS' Tom Wait asked Ramos if he was saying that Smith was lying, Ramos responded, "I feel really bad. I heard from her comments, she looked like she's in a lot of pain from a past experience and I feel bad for her that she's had that experience but I never sexually assaulted her."
The City of Murrieta told CBS that they are reviewing the claim.
Murrieta's previous mayor, Alan Long, was charged with a DUI last year when he rear-ended another car and injured four teenage cheerleaders. Long pleaded not guilty, but his criminal case has yet to take place.