WINDSOR (KPIX) — The Sonoma County Sheriff has launched an investigation into sexual assault allegations against Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli amid a rising tide of calls for his resignation.
The 38-year-old was well known as a rising star in both North Bay politics and in the wine industry. On Thursday, the San Francisco Chronicle published a story of four alleged assaults — including an 18-year-old campaign volunteer and three other women over a 16-year period.READ MORE: State Sen. Wiener's Recovery Incentives Act Would Pay Meth Addicts to Stay Sober
By Thursday night, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department had begun investigating the claims and asking other potential victims to contact its investigators.
“We have opened an investigation into the allegations to determine if we have jurisdiction and to encourage potential victims to come forward with their accounts of events,” Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick said in a release. “This is a developing situation as we attempt to gather information and interview potential victims. At this point I am not able to provide additional information as I do not want to jeopardize the integrity of the investigation.”
Windsor town officials also released a statement saying the behavior described in the newspaper article “is not acceptable nor does it reflect the values or standards we hold ourselves to as a community.”
“The Town and Town Council are aware of the shocking and horrible allegations that have been made against Mayor Foppoli,” the statement read. “The conduct described in the article published by the San Francisco Chronicle is not acceptable nor does it reflect the values or standards we hold ourselves to as a community. The Town has referred the allegations to the Windsor Police Department for further investigation and is in the process of evaluating its duties and options under the circumstances. We ask for the community’s trust that the allegations are being taken seriously and that appropriate actions will be taken in response.”
Meanwhile, the mayors of eight surrounding wine country communities issued a letter of condemnation and demanded that Foppoli step down.READ MORE: Notorious Norteño Gang Member 'Lil Rhino' Sentenced For Carrying Out Jailhouse Attacks
“In response to the credibility and significance of the allegations, Sonoma County Mayors of Cloverdale, Cotati, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol and Sonoma demand Dominic Foppoli resign immediately from the Windsor Town Council and all other elected and appointed positions and roles held with special districts and regional boards.”
“Sonoma County Mayors honor the incredible courage of the victims of sexual assault to share their stories publicly and acknowledge the individual leadership it took for them to come forward,” the statement continued. “Sonoma County Mayors treat the allegations seriously and stand firmly united as leaders in our community against any and all forms of sexual violence. As your local elected leaders, we are committed to ending sexual violence in Sonoma County and believe the actions by a fellow Mayor should not be tolerated.”
KPIX has reached out to Foppoli for comment but has not heard back. His Facebook page has been taken down and his cellphone was going directly to voicemail.
His attorney, Bethany Kristovich of Los Angeles, told the Chronicle that Foppoli “categorically denies having engaged in any of the abuses described.”
“Sexual assault and sexual misconduct are very serious issues, and Mr. Foppoli takes these allegations very seriously,” Kristovich told the newspaper. “He has a long history of supporting women in his business, personal, and political lives, and the accusation that he has engaged in any of these misdeeds is deeply troubling. Mr. Foppoli prides himself on working to improve life for all of his constituents, and he will continue to maintain the fundamental value of treating everyone with respect.”MORE NEWS: Santa Rosa Lawmaker Proposes Plan For City-Sanctioned Sideshows