WINDSOR (CBS SF) — Embattled Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli, under state and local investigation after six women claimed he sexually assaulted them, announced Friday that he was “stepping back” from an active role in his position Friday while continuing to insist he was innocent.
In a text message to San Francisco Bay Area media, the 38-year-old former winery executive said he would hold onto this mayoral position but decrease participation until the investigation into the allegations against him finished.
“As I have said so many times before, I have loved Windsor my whole life. Through prayer and in speaking with residents over the course of this week, it has become clear to me that the Town Council will not function at the level expected by its citizens if I remain actively involved, given the strong reaction to the allegations against me,” he said in his text. “Though I maintain full innocence under the law, I have decided to step back from an active role as Mayor until the formal investigation is complete.”
The announcement came as calls for Foppoli to resign continued to mount.
It was a night full of twists and turns as Foppoli showed up to chair the emergency meeting Town Council meeting, starting with a statement of his own.
“I have my held up my head high because I know deep in my heart that I haven’t done anything criminally wrong and will eventually be cleared,” Foppoli declared. “I’m not without fault but I am not a criminal.”
After roughly a couple hours of public comment, the mayor decided to log off to respect those who voiced their opposition of him being at the meeting.
But not before the council voted to demand his resignation.
One community member sent a clear message during public comment, “To disgraced Mayor Foppoli. Resign you rapist.”
There was not a single comment during the emergency meeting in support of Foppoli as he sat there listening to calls for his resignation.
“Oftentimes the worst and most evil monsters come in the guise of friends or allies,” said one speaker. “Regardless of what you may have done for this town in the past, you no longer have the confidence and respect on our behalf to lead this town.”
Another speaker added, “I have experienced and seen some of this behavior firsthand and I would like to say I’m so sorry. I’m sorry to all the women for not speaking out.”
Wednesday night’s meeting was largely symbolic. The only way to remove Foppoli from office is for him to either resign or launch a recall effort.
Charges have not been filed against Foppoli.
The state attorney general has assumed oversight of the investigation after the Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch recused herself and her office from the case.
“We can confirm that we’ve received a request from the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office, because of a conflict of interest, to review the allegations against Dominic Foppoli and we have agreed to do so,” state officials said in an email.
Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick has launched an investigation into the alleged events and will now present his office’s findings to the attorney general for review and potential prosecution.
“This would be a collaborative process between the Sheriff’s Office and the State AG to ensure we put forward a complete and thorough investigation,” Essick told KPIX 5 in an email. “The goal being that the State AG has all of the necessary information to make an informed decision about prosecution.”