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State Democrats Call For Removal Of Craig Cheslog As Region 2 Director After Allegations of Sexual Assault

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Photo: CADEM.com

The California Democratic Party’s East Bay director has resigned under pressure following allegations that he acted in a sexually aggressive manner toward a 23-year-old woman at a party function in San Mateo County last month and raped another female party member last year.

Craig Cheslog, 46, of Lafayette, subsequently resigned his seat on the Acalanes Union High School District board and was fired from his job at San Francisco-based Common Sense Media.

Cheslog is a former aide to state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

Cheslog’s accuser is Maddy Dean, daughter of Solano County Office of Education board president Dana Dean. Maddy Dean wrote of the incident and identified herself in a letter to the media. She posted on Facebook about her decision to come forward, writing:

“When a highly personal trauma becomes talked about in this kind of way, it quickly becomes about much more than you. … I came forward to protect others, so this has always been about more than just me,” she wrote. “Young people deserve an inclusive and safe environment in which to engage in politics.”

Cheslog was not available for comment on the story. His attorney says he will be vindicated after an open investigation of the allegations.

According to the letter which was provided to East County Today on December 11, California Democrats have received multiple reports that Mr. Cheslog acted in an inappropriate and sexually aggressive manner towards one of their members in the public areas of the Westin San Francisco Airport hotel November 18, 2017, at the Winter 2017 CDP Executive Board Meeting. 

After the allegations came to light, one CADEM member reported to the Chair that Mr. Cheslog had raped her at a CDP Executive Board meeting the previous year (November 2016).

Here is a copy of the full letter:

November 29, 2017

Dear Ms. Bach,

We, the undersigned statewide officers of the California Democratic Party, do hereby formally file this Statement of Charges to initiate removal of Craig Cheslog from the officer position of Region 2 Director.

We have received multiple reports that Mr. Cheslog acted in an inappropriate and sexually aggressive manner towards one of our members in the public areas of the Westin San Francisco Airport hotel. These inappropriate actions occurred late Saturday night, November 18, 2017, at the Winter 2017 CDP Executive Board Meeting. The level to which this activity advanced made a number of those in attendance uncomfortable and created an unwelcoming and unsuitable environment.

Further, witnessing this activity triggered a reaction in one of our members who subsequently reported to our Chair that Mr. Cheslog had raped her at a CDP Executive Board meeting the previous year (November 2016). While no legal adjudication has been reached in this matter, these appalling allegations paired with the inappropriate behavior observed and reported this past weekend lead us to conclude that Mr. Cheslog should no longer serve as an officer of the California Democratic Party.

Alexandra Gallardo-Rooker, First Vice-Chair
Daraka Larimore-Hall, Vice-Chair
Dan Weitzman, Controller

Eric C. Bauman, Chair
CC: Adam Seiden, CDP Senior Advisor
Sandra Lowe, CDP Senior Strategist
Clark Lee, CDP Political Director

In response to the allegations, Cheslog was terminated for “highly inappropriate behavior” by his employer Common Sense Media.

In a statement from Corbie Kiernan, VP of Communications:

On Wednesday November 29, we received information about highly inappropriate behavior by Craig Cheslog, who was an employee of Common Sense at the time. The conduct represented a serious violation of both company policy and the way in which our employees are expected to conduct themselves in the community at large. We immediately suspended Mr. Cheslog and conducted an investigation. As a result of the investigation, Mr. Cheslog’s employment with Common Sense was terminated. 

Thank you,
Corbie Kiernan

Prior to working with Common Sense Media he worked office of Tom Torlakson, California’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, where he served as principal adviser since 2011.  Prior to that, Cheslog was Torlakson’s district director when he was State Senator and State Assemblyman representing Contra Costa County, CA.

Attempts to reach Cheslog for comment were unsuccessful and he has not responded to questions regarding the allegations.

Region 2 covers Assembly Districts 4, 11, 14, 16.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Good. It’s not like our standards have changed, just our recent willingness to enforce the consequences.

  2. Here we go again……..
    Not to belittle any of these women’s claims, but things are getting so proliferate , I’m ready to hear of a wave off men coming forth saying that they’ve been abused now too.

  3. Wha t do we know about the accuser or accusers? I’m worried we may be hanging men for nothing more than a pointed finger and the accusations. Is there proof of an actual attack? Police reports?

  4. I believe these ladies are telling the truth. Is this happening more often or just more exposed? Society is hanging men than deserve it. Chemical castration would solve the problem.

  5. Hard to believe not on the basis of the allegation but on the frequency of occurrence. Apparently a lot of men are frustrated and waiting to masturbate into the nearest potted plant. I’m having a hard time with a lot of these allegations but if they are true it appears many of the worlds most powerful men are 4yos driven by their pee pee. And that’s scary enough to think about.

  6. “When you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.” – Our fearless leader

  7. I don’t think it’s hard to believe at all. I believe it’s underreported. As far as sexual aggression, some men are better at controlling their libido than others. As far as rape, that’s power and control. I don’t believe these men are frustrated. Most of these men are married, and married people are sexually active. How come it’s never the single guy (who may be frustrated)?

    Most of the men that we read about are rich, powerful men. Their power leads to a sense of entitlement. Thank goodness not all rich, powerful men are like this.

  8. Why does it always seem to be the guy with a bankroll — with so much to lose in terms of position or power and not Joe Six Pack? We just don’t hear about Joe Six Pack and we love hearing that these guys are such jerks???

  9. With the seriousness of these allegations, I don’t see how he’s going to be able to keep his seat on the Acalanes school board.

  10. And the hits just keep on coming. If true you have to be pretty arrogant to think you can get away with this kind of thing. So sad for these women.

  11. Was this guy either rich or famous (beyond regionally?). I think people should be able to quit or be fired at any time for any (or no) reason, without compensation beyond what was agreed in advance. That said, these kinds of accusations are inherently defamatory and life-destroying. I think it is irresponsible (even if “legal”) to publish this information without first conducting a thorough investigation and some due process opportunity for the accused to respond to allegations (beyond “Hey, your life just got blown up; any comment?” outreach emails hours before publication). And, in these cases, “less is more” (damaging) in terms of lack of detail. Also, labels count. I don’t think people should be publicly accused of “rape” unless the accuser alleges facts that (if true) would be “rape” under California law. I do not know the facts here, but I worry that we may be a bit too quick to blow up the lives of people who are “creepy” but not “rapists.” I’m reserving judgment (but, to be clear, I have no problem firing someone who is creepy (or who conflates
    “creepy” with criminal “sexual assault” or “rape”). Obviously, if he *is* a serial rapist, I’d be happy to administer the chemical (or traditional) castration personally….

  12. I couldn’t care less if “these types of accusations” are “inherently defamatory and life-destroying.” It is NOT irresponsible to publish this information. The media is doing their job, and some of us really appreciate it. Inquiring minds want to know.

    If men don’t want these types of accusations thrown their way, they need to quit committing these types of crimes. Why am I having to explain this to someone who attended law school?

    Maybe there are “facts” that we don’t know about. LE keeps things close to the vest, and the media (trusted sources) report in a responsible manner.

    If LE conducted an investigation, they conducted an investigation. They know what they’re doing, and I doubt they’re easy to fool. Unbelievable!

  13. @Danielle: I find your perspective horrifying. “If men don’t want these types of accusations thrown their way, they need to quit committing these types of crimes.” Really? But the public accusation often *is* the worst punishment. As far as we know, this guy has not been arrested, let alone had charges filed against him by the DA (to say nothing of having the accusations proven in court). Getting fired for suspected misconduct is *NOT* the same as having criminal charges filed against you. The latter only happens after an investigation and evaluation of evidence.

    I hate to be defending a creep and possible rapist, but this guy doesn’t seem to be a significant public figure and I don’t think the public has a strong interest to hear these accusations prior to criminal investigation.

  14. First off, I’m horrified at how many reports of this type of activity are coming out lately. It seems no place, no industry is safe for women. We already know women deal with things like this in a normal work environment (Relax, I’m making a general statement. Obviously, this doesn’t happen in EVERY office in the world, but it does happen often.) Women have to deal with unwanted attention, pressures from colleagues, creepy bosses ON TOP of working harder than men for less pay. I can’t imagine putting up with that day in and day out, and I don’t even want to think about the day my daughter grows up and enters the work force. Its a scary thought, and I’m hoping events unfolding today will make life easier and fair for her by the time she grows up.
    However, I’m also concerned about accusations being made that launch a witch hunt from the public. Quite a number of the high profile accusations being made recently have been proven and backed by significant number of victims. These are serial abusers like Weinstein, Roy Moore, or Cosby, their accusers are numerous, and their stories are consistent and the descriptions of the MO used by these guys match what’s known. There are also those that maybe didn’t do this type of activity on a regular basis, but they came forward with apologies etc, which tells me that they did in-fact do what they are being accused of, regardless of the circumstances. Of course, the media and public let them have it. Their jobs were terminated, they were kicked out of the office, they lost their families, and suffered significant harm. Karma did its thing. However, its not that far-fetched for us to consider a scenario where someone gets falsely accused, and gets punished because someone pointed a finger at them and they can’t prove their innocence. I imagine, sometimes being sexually assaulted, or raped is as difficult to prove as being accused of sexually assaulting and raping someone. You can lose everything you’ve worked for, including your family and friends, if someone with ill-intent accuses you, just to get even for something else. Its happened before, so its not that hard to imagine right.

    @Danielle – Your statement “If men don’t want these types of accusations thrown their way, they need to quit committing these types of crimes.” doesn’t make sense to me. Perhaps its not exactly what you meant to write, but just because I’m accused, doesn’t mean I committed the act I’m being accused of. Anyone can make an accusation, it doesn’t have to be true. And just because someone made an accusation, isn’t proof of the actual incident. Just because I’m a man, I don’t have to accept that I should live with such accusations thrown my way, because other men commit these crimes. Just as you as a woman shouldn’t accept how other women put up with unacceptable behavior of some men they worked with or worked for. I’m not sure what the law school comment was about, but since you brought it up, that’s precisely the type of things a lawyer would bring up. Lawyers work in a court of law, they they have to apply the rule of the law as written, not whether its right or wrong. For a lawyer, being accused and being guilty in the court of law, are important. Of course, for them their clients being actually guilty and being guilty in the court of law are also two different things, which is another topic.
    The point being, in case of being accused of sex crimes, damage is done to a person whether they are actually guilty or not. Humiliation, losing your job, your family, respect happens long before a court of law even hears your case. But, I do see your point of view. Not everything is black and white, right? Harvey Weinstein has been doing this to women for a LOOOOONG time, and only now we heard about it. I would want to know if there is someone like that around my family, whether they are convicted or not. But if one is the victim of being falsely accused of a rape, how different is that from being the victim of a rape that no one believes, but everyone judges.
    At one time, my simple brain thought that penalties for false accusations should be just as stiff as they are for the ones that commit such crimes. But then, what about those that are brave enough to come forward and file a complaint but aren’t able to prove it in the court of law. Would they get penalized twice? That would likely increase the number of victims that don’t report such crimes, which would be terrible. Then, how do you punish those that make accusations that are untrue?

    Yes, there needs to be a balance, but how do we achieve that. Obviously, it can’t just be those crimes that have been proved in a court of law. It can’t just be by reputation of accuser or accused, because then those with power and money would never be in danger of paying for their crimes. We can’t just leave it to the Press to determine which accusations we hear about and which ones we don’t, especially in this current political environment. So, only solution we have, the one that mostly works everywhere is trust ourselves to be informed, and be savvy enough to reach our own conclusions and make our own judgement. Critical thinking is like a muscle, it gets better and stronger the more we practice it. So, yea, I want to hear about these cases, and read about them. The news should be unfiltered so I can make up my mind about who to believe, but that’s no longer the case.

  15. James Bond – We can agree to disagree. The law school comment… Chris was a lawyer. I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

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