Murrieta Mayor Harry Ramos accused of sexually assaulting woman at mixer

MURRIETA, Calif. (KABC) -- A woman has filed a claim against Murrieta Mayor Harry Ramos, alleging that he sexually harassed and assaulted her during a Chamber of Commerce mixer at the Murrieta Spectrum shopping center in January.

Kathleen Smith says Ramos' repeated verbal and physical advances at the event spilled over into the parking lot and into her car.

"Without asking, he grabbed me and he started to kiss me, putting his tongue in my mouth, and I was stunned and shocked," Smith said.

She attended the mixer as part of her job as a sales representative with a local radio station where she's no longer employed. She says she chose to keep quiet about the incident until she was contacted by a private investigator.

"She actually was located by an investigator who's already investigating Mayor Ramos, and that's when she was asked to give a statement," Smith's attorney, Dan Gilleon said. "Other people had seen what Mayor Ramos had done to her and they had told this investigator."

The City of Murrieta issued the following statement in response to Eyewitness News' request for comment: "The city received the claim yesterday and the claim has been referred to the city's joint power agency and they are reviewing it. The city has 45 days to take action on the claim."

Smith, a single mother of three, says she struggled to come forward as a survivor of past abuse, but is doing so now to set an example for her 13-year-old daughter.

Ramos, a married father of three, was elected to the Murrieta City Council in 2012. He plans to hold a press conference at Murrieta City Hall Friday afternoon to discuss the allegations.

Meanwhile, this is not the first time a Murrieta mayor has made headlines.

Then-Mayor Alan Long was arrested and charged with driving under the influence last October after crashing his truck into a vehicle carrying four cheerleaders near the intersection of Jefferson and Lily avenues.

All four occupants of the vehicle, Murrieta Valley High School students between the ages of 14 and 17, suffered moderate to major injuries and were rushed to area hospitals. The four female victims were returning home from a nighttime pep rally.

Long pleaded not guilty and is currently serving as a city councilman. His criminal and civil cases are pending.
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