By Luke Thomas
Editor’s Note: This article has been revised since its initial publication.
October 17, 2012
Julian Davis, a leading progressive candidate running in the race for District 5 Supervisor, today released a statement that, in his words, “sets the record straight.”
Davis is responding to an uncorroborated allegation, first reported by SFWeekly, that he sexually assaulted Kay Vasilyeva, a current city employee, one-time actress and former campaign staffer, when both he and Vasilyeva worked on the 2006 campaign to re-elect former District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly. Vasilyeva was a paid staffer; Davis was a volunteer.
The allegation, coming on the heels of last week’s controversial vote to reinstate Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, has prompted Supervisors John Avalos, David Campos and Jane Kim to drop their support for Davis and revoke their endorsements. The San Francisco Bay Guardian, which previously endorsed Davis as their number one pick in the ranked choice race, has also revoked its endorsement and called for him to drop out of the race.
“If it’s a political hit, it is a perfect political hit,” Daly told FCJ. “The Davis campaign had all the momentum and was on the path to likely winning.”
Daly said he faintly recalls a conversation he had with Vasilyeva about the alleged incident but said he is “very certain that sexual assault was not part of it.” Daly’s campaign manager, Bill Barnes, who joined and managed Daly’s campaign after the alleged incident occurred, said though he cannot remember specifics of the conversation he had with Vasilyeva, he advised Vasilyeva that if she believed a crime occurred, she should report the incident to police.
“My memories that are most clear about that campaign were the political side of what was going on, not about the interpersonal issues,” Barnes said.
Neither Daly or Barnes reprimanded Davis or asked him to leave the campaign and Vasilyeva did not report the incident to police.
Davis concedes he did act inappropriately when he, Vasilyeva, and her
boyfriend at the time ex-boyfriend, went to see a movie together in 2008, that he was being “overly flirtatious” with Vasilyeva – but he denies that he ever sexually assaulted her, or anyone else, and that he later apologized to Vasilyeva for his behavior which, he said, she accepted.
In his statement, Davis acknowledges his past mistakes with some women with whom he “may have crossed boundaries,” and is calling into question the timing of the bombshell, just three weeks before Election Day.
“If you’ve read stories about our race in the past few days, you have no doubt seen some suspiciously timed allegations, less than three weeks before Election Day,” Davis states:
“Let me set the record straight.
“When I was first asked by reporters if I had any history of sexual impropriety, I candidly acknowledged that I had been overly flirtatious with some women in my past and that I may have crossed boundaries. To those women with whom this was an issue, I apologized and made amends many years ago. However, I have never sexually assaulted anyone.
“I continue to question the timing of this attack on my candidacy less than three weeks before Election Day.
“Some of you have noted that some endorsers, already feeling pressure because of their decision to reinstate Sheriff Mirkarimi, have elected to withdraw their support for my candidacy.
“No one can deny that there is presently a particular sensitivity around domestic violence issues, and this may have been a contributing factor in their decision in this instance. I want to emphasize that I respect this heightened sensitivity and I will not criticize those allies of mine that have chosen to withdraw support.
“I will not, however, admit to things I have not done. And I thank those allies who have stood by me including former board presidents Aaron Peskin and Matt Gonzalez, Small Business Commissioner Kathleen Dooley, and groups with whom I share core values, including the San Francisco Tenants Union, the League of Young Voters, and many, many, more.
“I want to thank the many of you who reached out to me in the past few days to let me know that you continue to believe in my candidacy.
“I have met with my campaign team, and we remain confident that we can win this race, and serve the people of District 5 with honor and distinction. The city faces critical issues that need to be addressed. I believe, as others have stated, I have by far the best grasp on the policies that most affect people here.
“Together, we will cross the finish line on November 7. Thank you for your continued support and belief in me.”
Stay tuned for more in-depth coverage of this story.
Luke Thomas is a resident of District 6. As a professional photographer, he has supplied photography services to several campaigns in this election cycle including Davis’ campaign.