Raleigh councilman resigns amid sexual misconduct allegations
Posted June 26, 2020 1:39 p.m. EDT
Updated June 26, 2020 7:14 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — City Councilman Saige Martin resigned Friday after reports surfaced that he made unwanted sexual advances to people while he worked as a teacher assistant at North Carolina State University, Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said.
"I am shocked by the allegations made against Councilor Saige Martin. He has offered and I have accepted his resignation," Baldwin posted on social media. "Any type of unwanted sexual behavior is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated or excused, especially when perpetrated by someone in a position of influence or power. I commend the survivors for the courage to come forward to tell their stories."
The allegations by four current or former N.C. State students were first reported by The News & Observer. The acts range from suggestive texts to physical restraint and forced sex acts.
N.C. State police said Friday that they have no record of complaints made against him. There also are no criminal charges or active police investigations against him.
Martin denied the assault accusations in the newspaper. He didn't respond to WRAL News' requests for comment on Friday.
"Saige Martin sexually assaulted me," Juni Cuevas, one of the accusers, told WRAL.
Cuevas said the encounter occurred last summer. He said Martin, who was drunk at the time, physically restrained him and forced him to have sex.
"For him to say that he didn’t do any of it, how does he even know that he didn’t do anything? He probably doesn’t remember the incident," Cuevas said.
He said he came forward now because he began to hear rumors that Martin had done similar things to other people. He said he doesn’t plan to press criminal charges because he wants to be known as a chef and an actor, not as a victim.
"When I found out other people had similar experiences with him, it was my sign to say something about it," Cuevas said.
Martin was elected last fall to represent District D on Raleigh's southwest side and was one of the city's first openly gay council members. He has been an advocate of cutting funding to the Raleigh Police Department, and he also pushed to dissolve the city's neighborhood advisory councils.
Councilman Patrick Buffkin also expressed shock and outrage over the allegations against Martin. None of the other council members responded to WRAL's requests for comment.
The City Council has scheduled a special meeting Tuesday afternoon to lay out the process to fill Martin’s seat for the remainder of his two-year term.