Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas revealed more details at this morning’s press conference regarding the arrest of Santa Ana City Councilman Carlos Bustamante.
Bustamante, the former Director of Administrative Services for Orange County Public Works, was released last night after posting $100,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned at 8:30 a.m. Thursday mornng.
Bustamante was arrested Monday afternoon in the parking lot outside of City Hall prior to a regularly scheduled meeting of the City Council.
For his sex assault-related crimes, Carlos Bustamante, 47, is charged with six felony counts of false imprisonment, three counts of assault with the intent to commit a sexual offense, one felony count each of battery, assault, sexual battery, and attempted sexual battery with a sentencing enhancement allegation for committing the offenses as a result of axial compulsion and for the purpose of sexual gratification.
For his fraud-related crimes, Bustamante has been charged with one felony count of grand theft by false pretense. If convicted on all counts, Bustamante faces a maximum sentence of 26 years and two months in state prison, plus an additional year and nine months in County jail, and would be subject to lifetime sex offender registration.
It is alleged that Bustamante assaulted at least seven women between 2003 and 2011 while working in his official capacity at Orange County Public Works, most recently as an administrative manager.
All of his seven charged victims were county employees, and subordinate to him at the time they were victimized. Bustamante is accused of targeting victims whom he knew to be vulnerable due to their emotional state, current relationship status, or employment position.
Bustamante is accused of committting several of the assaults in his office. He is accused of using phone calls or emails to lure the victims to his office under the pretense of needing to speak with them about work-related matters.
Bustamante is accused of sexually assaulting the victims in his office including hugging them, kissing their mouths and necks, rubbing his face against theirs, grabbing their breasts, touching their bare thighs and moving his hand towards their vaginas, grabbing their buttocks, exposing himself, and masturbating in front of his victims.
The theft of public funds charge is related to his failing to reimburse the county for a portion of expenses for a two week training in Boston, MA that he attended. In addition to failing to pay his agreed upon share, Bustamante is alleged to have attempted to be reimbursed for meals that were already covered as part of the conference he was attending.
“When a person is elected to public office, or accepts a taxpayer-funded high ranking position, that person owes a duty of trust to the public to protect the powers of that position,” District Attorney Tony Rackauckas told the assembled media. “One holds such a position not as an owner, but as a steward for a limited time. Holding such a position is a privilege bestowed by the public, and we must do all we can to safeguard the public trust. This case exemplifies an unacceptable abuse of power, abuse of position, abuse of women, and abuse of trust,” Rackauckas added.