A South Carolina Republican political operative has been accused of playing the role of abusive villain in the latest sexual abuse drama to befall The Citadel – South Carolina’s scandal-scarred military college.

Twenty-three-year-old Steven Munoz – a key member of former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum’s 2012 presidential campaign (and occasional freelancer for GOP nominee Mitt Romney) – has been accused of groping two underclassmen at the Charleston, S.C. school.  In addition to the sexual assault allegations, one of the students has also accused Munoz of stalking.

The conduct is alleged to have occurred in 2010 and 2011 – shortly before Munoz was hired to manage the Iowa straw poll for Santorum.

Steven Munoz

Here we go again, right?  The Citadel – which received plenty of well-earned criticism for mishandling its most recent sex scandal – just can’t seem to escape this stuff, can it?  Oh well … maybe this time the school will get the response right.

According to an email sent from The Citadel to its cadets this week, an alleged abuser (presumed to be Munoz) is said to have “used his authority over the victims to get close to them.”  The email also includes a list of “talking points” for school officials to use – one of which stresses that The Citadel’s public safety division “received reports about (the allegations) only last week.”

The school has asked the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to launch an investigation, and has pledged to “cooperate fully” with that probe.

Munoz – who was president of his class at The Citadel – graduated from the school in 2011.  In addition to his work with Santorum he has been paid for “event consulting” on at least two occasions by the presidential campaign of GOP nominee Mitt Romney, according to the website BuzzFeed.  

Closer to home, he has worked for former U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett and current S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson.

Munoz’s LinkedIn profile describes him as “a Christ centered businessman seeking to glorify God.”

News of the sexual abuse allegations against Munoz was broken by The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier, although the paper failed to identify him or disclose his connection to Santorum, Romney, Barrett or Wilson.