The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

    Ex-mayor of Windsor undergoing investigation

    On Nov. 10 at 8:40 a.m., detectives with the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department served a search warrant and raided the former mayor of Windsor, Dominic Foppolis’ house seizing 10 electronic devices to help aid in an ongoing seven-month long investigation.

    Last May, Foppoli reluctantly stepped down as mayor after he was accused of multiple counts of sexual assault and misconduct by nine different women, These women have accused Foppoli of sexual assault, abuse or harassment between the years of 2002 to early 2021. Foppoli has denied all allegations that began to surface in April and has yet to be charged with a crime. 

    According to the Press Democrat, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Juan Valencia said “the search warrant was the first served in the ongoing investigation into Foppoli.”

    The search warrant that was issued Nov. 3 allowed investigators  to search Foppoli’s electronic devices and data. This included his browser history, bookmarks and favorited web page as well as searching two of his cars. The search was conducted to obtain evidence that would help in proving that a felony has been committed. 

    According to court documents, the devices taken from Foppoli’s home include two laptops, three iPads, a cell phone, a recording device, a camera, a USB drive and a CD. 

    Investigators were searching for photographs that depict a “Jane Doe 1” in 2002 and a “Jane Doe 5” in 2017. By law, a judge would not have permitted investigators to search Foppoli’s property unless they had presented a strong case that the seized electronics held evidence of crimes, according to Kathleen Pozzi, a recently retired public attorney in Sonoma County.

    Usually the Sonoma County’ District Attorney’s Office (DA) would approve the warrant before a judge to establish probable cause but because current Windsor council member Esther Lemus is one of many alleged victims, the DA’s office recused itself. 

    “It can’t be on a hunch,” Pozzi said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “There had to be something sufficient enough for a court to sign a warrant. That just tells me that there’s something.”

    The San Francisco Chronicle also reports that the raid was a result of a new claim of sexual assault against Foppoli that a woman had made just a few weeks prior. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s office confirmed on Nov. 16 that about a month ago, an additional woman told investigators about a sexual assault that allegedly occured while Foppoli was an elected official. 

    Traci Carillo, a former prosecutor who is representing several of the alleged victims, including the most recent woman said the alleged assault would fall within California’s statute of limitations for prosecuting sex crimes. 

    Many members of the community have expressed their concerns with the investigation taking so long however, if a search warrant is executed prematurely it could hurt the prosecution’s case. 

    According to SoCoNews, Valencia said “With the Dominic Foppoli case, this is a very complex investigation…We want to make sure we’re turning over every stone and looking in every corner to make sure we’re not missing anything.”

    Carrillo told KRCB that the developments made on Nov. 10 suggest an arrest is coming. She added she has concerns that some evidence may have been lost, concealed or destroyed in the months since the allegations emerged.

    In addition to the local investigation, a second investigation is proceeding in Florida as Farrah Abraham, a former reality television star, reported to the Palm Beach police in April that Foppoli assaulted her at the end of March. 

    Abraham’s attorney, Spencer Kuvin said that Abraham had physical and digital evidence from the encounter with Foppoli and has turned it over to the police. He also confirmed Abraham has been in contact with Sonoma County investigators. 

    Foppoli is also the subject of two state investigations into potential violations of California’s campaign and political ethics laws.

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