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Politics & Policy

Pelosi throws support behind San Francisco Democrats’ sexual misconduct probe

A woman in a pink blazer gestures while speaking, with a blurred 92Y logo in the background.
Nancy Pelosi applauded the San Francisco Democratic Party for looking into allegations of sexual misconduct by local political leaders. | Source: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi sent a letter Saturday to Democratic Party officials in San Francisco expressing her support for a new committee looking into sexual assault and harassment allegations against local political leaders—one of whom worked in her office as recently as two years ago.

The letter, addressed to Democratic County Central Committee (DCCC) chair Nancy Tung, advised the committee to adopt similar standards to the MeToo rules passed by Congress in 2018.

“As the DCCC deliberates standards for this new special committee, I urge you to implement a robust standard of independence, thoroughness and due process for investigations into credible claims of sexual misconduct,” Pelosi wrote. “Doing so is necessary to both protect survivors and their privacy, as well as ensure the integrity of the process. It is also vital that such investigations are accountable to the committee members and, ultimately, to the public.”

Pelosi’s letter comes just a day after local party officials said they were creating a committee to look into sexual assault and harassment allegations in response to a report by The Standard that featured three women accusing Jon Jacobo—a once-rising star in local politics—of crimes that ranged from domestic violence and sexual assault to rape.

The Standard learned that a second individual with misconduct allegations against him who was referenced in the committee’s formation is Kevin Ortiz, a former Pelosi staffer and the co-president of the Latinx Democratic Club.

Ortiz is also a board member for the Chinatown Community Development Center, an affordable housing and advocacy nonprofit. The nonprofit placed Ortiz on “indefinite leave” Friday.

An attorney for Ortiz denied any wrongdoing and dismissed the allegations as politically motivated.

A spokesperson for the congresswoman’s office declined to discuss Ortiz’s work and his departure beyond confirming he was an employee from January 2020 to June 2022.

“I strongly support the spirit and mission of creating a special committee dedicated to supporting survivors and combating sexual assault, discrimination and harassment,” Pelosi said in her letter.

However, some observers raised concerns about the makeup of the committee, pointing out that one of the appointees, Michela Alioto-Pier, wrote a letter of support for Gov. Gavin Newsom advisor Nate Ballard when he was being tried for domestic abuse.