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Santa Cruz County Supervisor candidate speaks on child molestation accusations, alleged victim speaks

WATSONVILLE, Calif. (KION-TV)- Jimmy Dutra appeared before the media Thursday to defend himself over allegations brought against him on Oct. 5 that he molested a child when the child was 12.

The man running for District 4 Santa Cruz County supervisor said the allegations were lies put against him to smear his name and damage his political career ahead of the November election.

"This is my dad's...This is about my dad's disgruntled girlfriend, that I just got out of a six-year litigation with over my father's estate," said Dutra. "So let's be clear what this case is about. This case is about money and revenge."

Dutra declined to answer any questions, as advised by his lawyer.

The plaintiff in the complaint, Stephen Seifke, said he has no interest in politics and came forward to prevent Dutra, a former Pajaro Valley Union School District middle school teacher, from targeting more victims.

Supporters of Dutra, including his mother and long-time friends, defended his innocence and were present to show their support.

"The truth is he's innocent," said a long-time friend of Dutra.

Siefke responded to Dutra's press conference and retaliated by saying that he had told "his mother, his father, his grandparents, his closest friends in high school, and his therapist about the alleged incident. Stephen’s parents and grandparents, who were extremely close with Jimmy’s dad and his life partner, had also expressed their outrage to Jimmy and to his immediate family." These allegations were brought up years ago, and Dutra is feigning ignorance about them.

KION asked Dutra about his accuser bringing these allegations up years ago, and Dutra responded by saying, "I know nothing of that. So you'll have to talk to my lawyer."

“When I returned to Santa Cruz County and was faced with Jimmy’s campaign
for supervisor on a daily basis, and then discovered that he was a middle school teacher,
I had no choice but to come forward by filing a public lawsuit. I am extremely pleased

Stephen Siefke

We reached out to the Pajaro Valley Union School District for comment, and they said Dutra is "no longer employed at PVUSD. HR did take necessary steps once they received a copy of the claim."

A hearing for these allegations is scheduled for Feb.

Former Mayor of Watsonville Dutra faces lawsuit claiming he molested a child

A man has filed a civil lawsuit at the Santa Cruz County Superior Court claiming that the former mayor of Watsonville, Jimmy Dutra molested him when he was 12.

The current candidate for Santa Cruz County Supervisor denies the allegations saying the following:

It is completely disappointing in today’s age of politics that people are reverting to such unbelievable and appalling tactics.  These accusations are baseless and made solely to tarnish my reputation and campaign. And the timing of these allegations - three days before voting begins - make it very clear what is really going on. We have grown accustomed to this type of nasty behavior in national politics, but this takes politics to a whole new low in our local community. Let's remember that how we campaign will determine how we govern and I choose to run a clean positive campaign on the issues, not dirty politics. We put ourselves out there to serve our communities and I look forward to continuing to serve, which has always been my inspiration for running.

Jimmy Dutra

Dutra's family was friends with the victim Stephen Siefke's family and had stayed at their home during the summer of 2005 in Los Angeles. That's when Siefke said Dutra allegedly molested him.

The night of the alleged incident, Siefke was on an air mattress in the living room. Dutra, who was 30 then, came back with his friend and sat on the couch near the air mattress, according to a statement.

“He proceeded to unzip my pants, place his hands inside my underwear, and fondle me sexually,” Siefke said.

To prevent any further advances, he rolled away onto his stomach, horrified at what happened. Dutra returned to the couch, according to the complaint. Siefke told nobody about the alleged incident for years out of shame and embarrassment.

"It was not until I was in high school that I first disclosed to my mother what had happened," said Siefke.

Siefke's parents reported his molestation to Los Angeles Police, but he was still too embarrassed to speak to law enforcement about what happened.

Within the last two years, Siefke returned to Santa Cruz County and saw that Dutra had made a name for himself as a politician.

"I looked up Jimmy on Google and social media and was terrified to learn that he claims to be working as a 'middle school lead teacher with Pajaro Valley Unified School District’s After School Program,'" said Siefke.

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Ricardo Tovar

Assignment/ Web Manager for KION News Channel 5/46 and Telemundo 23


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