In this TV ad, Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) hits Scott Jones over allegations of unwelcome sexual advances toward a deputy from more than a decade ago. Jones, in a prepared statement, urged Bera to pull down the ad, which he characterized as a “false smear.” Bera for Congress
In this TV ad, Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) hits Scott Jones over allegations of unwelcome sexual advances toward a deputy from more than a decade ago. Jones, in a prepared statement, urged Bera to pull down the ad, which he characterized as a “false smear.” Bera for Congress

Capitol Alert

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Capitol Alert

Ami Bera highlights allegations of sexual advances by Scott Jones

By Christopher Cadelago

ccadelago@sacbee.com

September 19, 2016 11:37 AM

UPDATED September 20, 2016 07:44 AM

Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, is airing a TV ad highlighting recently revealed accusations that Sheriff Scott Jones, a Republican, made unwelcome sexual advances toward a subordinate more than a decade ago. The spot uses clips from news accounts to present its points.

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Shocking accusations this morning against Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones. Scott Jones. Allegations of sexual harassment. Serious sex allegations against Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones. Unwanted sexual advances. Sexual advances towards a subordinate. A former female deputy. Approximately 30 instances. She was 26 years old at the time. Jones, a former mentor. Kissing and touching when Jones was her supervisor. Acting as an unofficial mentor. Touched her in a sexual way. She did nothing out of fear. Scott Jones has been accused of sexual misconduct.

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Analysis

Bera is using the cycle’s first deeply negative ad to highlight the deputy’s accusations of unwanted sexual advances against Jones, which the subordinate says occurred between 2003 and 2005, but were first reported in the media in July.

It is true that allegations by Tosca Olives, at the time a 26-year-old sheriff’s deputy, were made in a July 2014 deposition as part of a retaliation lawsuit that is costing the county more than $10 million. Olives is not a plaintiff in the lawsuit and has not responded to repeated attempts to discuss the allegations.

The 52 pages of her deposition filed with the court include only portions of her account supporting the plaintiffs’ positions. Overall, she claimed about 30 inappropriate encounters over the two years, but said she and Jones also mutually kissed.

Jones, in his sworn statement with the court, responded to the accusations by saying that he never had romantic or sexual interest in Olives and, except one time, when he says she kissed him, “never had any physical contact with her of an intimate nature.”

Bera’s 30-second ad doesn’t delve into the timing or much of the background of the charges. It includes the fact that that Jones’ accuser was 26 at the time but omits that the activity was said to have occurred more than a decade ago.

The ad leaves out context that would have been favorable to Jones’ position but also doesn’t include potentially compelling arguments that further support Olives.

Olives made her statements under oath and said she considered taking her grievances up the chain of command before Jones advised her against it. Olives said she spoke spoke with an attorney about Jones’ conduct, but decided against bringing a lawsuit because the time to file a suit had expired under the statute of limitations.

No judge has passed judgment on Olives’ accusations. They remain allegations, as Bera has presented them.

PoliGRAPH is The Bee’s political fact checker, rating campaign advertisements and candidate claims as True, Iffy or False. Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago