Over the weekend, Jon Jacobo, a San Francisco City Commissioner who has been widely considered to be one of the future political stars of the city, resigned following accusations of raping a woman in April.
Jacobo, who is also the health chair for the Latino Task Force and a policy director for the Tenants and Owners Development Corporation in addition to being a city building inspection commissioner, was accused by Sasha Perigo, a current Stanford University undergrad student who also works as a digital organizer for Tenants Together. According to Perigo, she had been pressured and sexually assaulted by Jacobo following a night of drinking on April 4th. In a tweet and Google document outlining her rape, Perigo provided text message screenshots, rape test kit results, and a letter from the San Francisco Police Department as evidence of her claims.
(TW: sexual assault)
I'm heartbroken to share that the man who raped me in April is @Jon_Jacobo.
Prior to my rape, I considered Jon a great friend and a great person, which is why it's so important for me to come forward.
Please RT and share widely!https://t.co/rKatrJkCuk
— Sasha Perigo (@sashaperigo) August 6, 2021
“I don’t want to press charges, but I wanted to release the story to free myself from the burden of shielding him from consequences,” added Perigo in a later statement. “One of the reasons I kept this story to myself for so long is that I didn’t want to hurt Jon by coming forward. I cared about him deeply, and I’ll forever be heartbroken that someone I once admired could violate me in this way.”
Following her Friday tweet, prominent city lawmakers from both parties, such as Supervisor Shamann Walton, sided with Perigo, with some calling her evidence “overwhelming.”
While Jacobo initially defended himself during the weekend, he soon resigned from his Commissioner position and took a leave of absence from work after the number of calls for his resignation from prominent city leaders became too great.
“My memory of these events is different than her memory. I believed then, as I do now, that our relationship was completely consensual. In April, we attempted a restorative process and I will continue to work to understand why and how she feels I caused her harm,” tweeted Jacobo. “For the sake of the community, which I owe so much, and to avoid distraction from the important work of addressing and preventing the spread of COVID-19 which has been my mission this past year. As such, I am currently taking a leave of absence from my work and am resigning from the Building Inspection Commission effective immediately.”
As such, I am currently taking a leave of absence from my work and am resigning from the Building Inspection Commission effective immediately.
— Jon Jacobo (@Jon_Jacobo) August 7, 2021
Jacobo first became prominent in San Francisco in the late 2010s as an outspoken housing advocate amid San Francisco’s real estate boom. This brought him to the attention of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the Mayor’s Office, who gave him a Building Inspector Commissioner position in early 2020. This new position, along with his work in the Latino Task Force, also brought attention to him from the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, which brought him on as a state Latino Press Secretary. Throughout 2020, Jacobo also spoke out against the death of George Floyd and helped lead COVID-19 relief and testing efforts in the Mission District. Earlier this year, Jacobo continued the relief efforts, even being acknowledged for it in a Mother Jones article.
However, the accusation quickly sunk Jacobo’s standing in San Francisco, according to many San Francisco political insiders.
“He was being thought of as a Supervisor or Assemblyman in the next decade,” noted Jane Marino, a Bay Area pollster who helps keep track of rising political stars in their 20s and 30s. “You know, he’s a young Latino who has shown skill in community organizing, has made a name in the city as someone who fights for housing and helping those hurt against COVID. The City government recognized him and big time campaigns asked for his help. This is why this is major news. He was on his way to being a political force.”
“But now the rape undid all that. That’s different from having affairs. Politicians can survive affairs. Lord knows they can. But a rape? It’s hard to bounce back from that, especially one with so much evidence.”
“He’s still young, so it’s hard to say if this sinks any political ambitions forever. But it’s safe to say that this will now follow him for life and may very well derail any hope for a large office in the future.”
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