Julian Davis is running for supervisor of District 5. He's also a longtime fixture of San Francisco's admittedly bro-lopsided progressive community. In an email sent to supporters today, Davis has denied allegations that he sexually assaulted a staffer a few years ago. This all stems from a heated piece SF Weekly published on Monday wherein a former staffer for Chris Daly accused Davis of assaulting her during a campaign bar-crawl.

[...] Six years ago, when [Kay Vasilyeva] was a staffer on Supervisor Chris Daly's re-election campaign and Davis was a volunteer, Vasilyeva says that Davis grew "handsy," and during a campaign bar-crawl, he then touched her beneath her clothing in an unwelcome physical advance. "It was such a shock to me he would do that to a colleague," she says. "I was so appalled and really humiliated. I didn't want to tell people."

Though Davis denies touching her (which we'll get to in a bit), he does admit to a messy encounter with her. He says that he apologized to Vasilyeva — a rather vocal member of the progressive community — and another unidentified woman for what he calls "youthful indiscretion."

Davis denies this type of encounter. "With some youthful indiscretion, I was too forward in a way that made two women feel uncomfortable," he says. One of those women is Vasilyeva, and the other has declined to speak with SF Weekly. "This is something I apologized for," he said regarding both instances. "I have matured a lot since then." Davis claimed he did no more with Vasilyeva than flirt with her in front of a person he did not know to be her boyfriend. He characterized his past behavior as "overly flirtatious" and "overly persistent conversation," stressing that "there was no physical advance." He adds that "no one pressed charges. We're not talking about anything criminal here."

Obviously, the timing of the allegations will make many wonder if this is yet another attempt by the Lee machine to take down the city's more left-of-center politicos. (Political columnist Melissa Griffin has described Davis as "downtown’s nightmare," and that probably doesn't sit well with the aggressive Lee-Pak-Brown trilogy of uninspired-condo-terror.) However, it is important to point out that, according to the SF Weekly piece, Vasilyeva tried to bring up the Davis incident before election season with progressive leaders. After the Bay Guardian gave Davis their endorsement, even after allegedly knowing about the molestation accusations, she came out publicly with details.

This morning, Davis sent out the following letter if denial to his supporters and local media:

Yesterday, the SF Weekly published an allegation made by a staffer in Mayor Ed Lee's administration that I made unwelcome physical advances towards her six years ago.

The allegation in the SF Weekly piece is completely untrue, but the story is out.

The overwhelming majority of commentators see this for exactly what it is: an 11th-hour 'October Surprise.' The words of support that people have been sending me have only reaffirmed what I've known all along: this campaign continues to have the most passionate, loyal, and energetic people behind it.

As for the Guardian, they are taking the allegations very seriously. "Yes, we are reconsidering our endorsement," the local alt-weekly wrote soon after the Weekly's piece went live.

Update: The Guardian's editor/publisher Tim Redmond contacted SFist to explain how much they knew. Turns out very little. "[F]or the record, we did NOT know about Kay's allegations before we endorsed Julian. If we had known, we never would have endorsed him," Redmond said. This statement stands in direct contrast to SF Weekly's claim that Todd Vogt, co-owner of the Examiner and Guardian, knew about them prior to the endorsement. Further, the Guardian has now asked for Davis to drop out of the race. Which, yes, he probably should at this point — especially since the doomed candidate has gone so far as to retain an attorney to threaten Vasilyeva with legal action.

[...] And more than the incident itself, the response we've seen from Davis is highly disturbing. He's utterly denying that it ever happened, and retained a lawyer to send Vasilyeva a letter threatening her with legal action if she continues to talk.

We can best sum up what's happening here with a line plucked from last night's Real Housewives of New York reunion. As Carole Radziwill pointed out to Luann regarding her maybe-affair with French pirate Tomas in St. Barts — while expertly tipping her hat to Watergate — "It's never about the crime, it's always about the cover up."

True words, Carole. True words.