Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced in a press release Monday afternoon that she has passed her investigation into the numerous sexual assault allegations against Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli to the California Attorney General’s Office, the state’s top prosecutor, due to a conflict of interest.
The news comes five days after the San Francisco Chronicle published a lengthy investigative article quoting four women alleging that Foppoli had assaulted them between 2003 and 2019. Since then, more women have come forward with similar allegations, including Windsor Town Councilmember Esther Lemus.
In a statement published over the weekend, Foppoli denied the allegations against him. He has also stated that he does not intend to step down as mayor of Windsor.
Although her statement doesn’t name Lemus, Ravitch seems to imply that investigating Lemus’s allegations would pose a conflict of interest for Ravitch’s office because of Lemus’s day job: working as a prosecutor in Ravitch’s office.
“Over the weekend I became aware of allegations made by a member of my office that made clear to me that my office would have a conflict of interest proceeding with any further investigation, or potential subsequent prosecution of charges related to the allegations. As such, I contacted the Attorney General’s office to share my concerns. I was advised this morning by that agency that they will immediately assume the responsibilities of reviewing these incidents, and if appropriate, charging and prosecuting any relevant violations of the law,” Ravitch’s statement reads in part.
Ravitch encourages anyone with information about the allegations against Foppoli to contact the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office or the California Attorney General’s Office.
On Wednesday at 6:00pm, the Windsor Town Council will hold a special virtual meeting to discuss the possibility of forcing Foppoli to resign. Foppoli and Lemus reportedly will be allowed to attend the meeting, though it remains unclear whether Foppoli will.