Former Councilman Pleads Not Guilty to Sex-Related Charges

County exec accused of harassing, groping seven women while working at public works department

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Former Santa Ana councilman Carlos Bustamante pleads not guilty to charges of sexual assault, harassment. Vikki Vargas reports live from Orange County for NBC4 News at Noon June 10, 2014.

    Five sex-related charges dismissed by an Orange County judge last month have been refiled against former Santa Ana City Councilman Carlos Bustamante, who pleaded not guilty Tuesday.

    Bustamante was arrested last year, accused of groping, harassing and stalking seven subordinates and stealing public funds.

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    Prosecutors accuse Bustamante of sexually assaulting at least seven women between 2003 and 2011 while working at the Orange County Public Works department. He resigned the post in October.

    Read: Top OC Official Faces Possible Firing in Sex-Assault Scandal

    Bustamante’s lawyers spoke out Tuesday, calling the charges politically motivated.

    “Everything that happened was between consenting adults,” said Steven Young, another defense lawyer.

    “My client does not deny that he had sexual relations with women and none of it occurred on county time or county property and all of it was consenting.”

    Since Bustamante’s resignation, three other county officials have either stepped down or been fired as part of the scandal.

    Bustamante remains free in lieu of $100,000 bail.

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