Candidate For Miami Beach City Commission Facing Accusations Of Sexual Harassment

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – At city hall, heated supporters of Rafael Velasquez, who’s running for Miami Beach commissioner, called Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez a liar after she accused him of being sexually inappropriate.

Up until last week, Rosen Gonzalez and Velasquez had a mentor-mentee relationship.

“I raise money for him. I have my sign in front of his house. I went to the Democratic Party and I got them to support him. I went to the unions and I advocated for him,” Rosen Gonzalez said. “This is very embarrassing for me and I invested a lot of political capital in him.”

Rosen Gonzalez says a few weeks ago Velasquez was knocking on doors and campaigning in her neighborhood when he stopped by her home. They drove to grab a bite, where she had two glasses of wine and he had two mojitos. She claims Velasquez became aggressive and inappropriate.

“I was driving the car he took out his penis, OK, and he was trying to pull my hand off the steering wheel and make me touch it,” explained Rosen Gonzalez. “And he said, ‘I know you want this. I know you want this’”

“Do you regret getting in the car with him?” asked CBS4’s Silva Harapetian.

“Should I have to regret getting in a car with a man?” she responded.

Velasquez spoke out Monday.

“The only problem here is that I’m not the one in power. I’m not the one that’s an elected official that is taking advantage of an intern or taking advantage of a candidate. She is a mentor of mine, I’m looking up to her,” he said.

Velasquez, married with children, denies any wrong doing and calls it dirty Miami Beach politics. He answered voter’s questions on Monday.

VOTER: Kristen Rosen Gonzalez is lying?

VELASQUEZ: That’s right.

The accusations don’t stop there. Another woman has come forward claiming Velasquez groped her while taking a photo. She shared some of their text messages following the incident with CBS4 news partners the Miami Herald.

Velasquez doesn’t deny the text messages, saying he was complimenting her. But he does deny ever touching her.

“Is it possible that maybe seem like a compliment to you in a lighthearted sort of flirtation was taken seriously and offensively by someone else?” Harapetian asked him.

“Possibly, and I apologize,” he said. “I really deeply apologize for that because I didn’t mean to offend anyone.”

The question is will voter believe him.

VELASQUEZ: Truth is on my side I will not surrender to that.

VOTER: The truth will out that’s right.

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