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

    Windsor Mayor accused of sexual assault by 6 women


    Six women have recently come forward to accuse Windsor’s mayor and winery owner Dominic Foppoli of sexual assault. The current timeline of alleged assaults begins in 2002, with the latest occurring in 2020. 

    Four women told their stories to the San Francisco Chronicle last week, another came forward two days later when she realized that she needed to share her story as well, and most recently, the sixth woman spoke up Sunday. Each woman claims that she was assaulted by Foppoli despite rejecting his advances, and in several cases, Foppoli was said to have been intoxicated during the assault.

    Other women claim to have been victims of predatory behavior from Foppoli, with one woman sharing that, years ago, she had met with Foppoli for an interview and that he seemed to be attempting to get her drunk before she was able to escape the situation. This particular detail appears to be part of a pattern, wherein Foppoli seeks to disarm potential victims with wine.

     Foppoli has even publicly stated that “if all mayors poured wine for people who are upset, you’d get through a lot of problems quickly” and that it is “hard to stay mad at your mayor when he keeps pouring you wine,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

    The women who came forward have said that they did so because they feared Foppoli would continue his behavior, especially if he continued to pursue positions of political power. Some said they feared coming forward initially because they were either unsure of what to do, or afraid of what would happen if they did.

    “I wanted to tell who did that to me,” one victim said for the San Francisco Chronicle, “but I was too afraid because he was the mayor.”

    The details of each incident are extremely troubling, although Foppoli has denied all of the allegations and refuses to heed the mounting demands for his resignation, calling the accusations “unfounded” and “false” in a statement released Saturday.

    Many Sonoma County residents have come out in support of the women who came forward, and are furious with the Press Democrat for subduing the story when it first emerged two years ago. Editor Richard Green issued an apology for the newspaper, citing that though he was not an editor for the paper until six weeks ago, he feels compelled to ensure that the mistake will never be repeated.

    “Our handling of the Foppoli story two years ago runs counter to our unflinching commitment to holding powerful individuals accountable for their actions. And on behalf of our entire leadership team, we again apologize,” Green wrote.

    Foppoli is currently under formal investigation by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s office. He is to be expelled from The Russian River Valley Winegrowers Association; he is suspended by the Sonoma County Vintners; Active 20-30, a national civic group, plans to expel him; Leadership Santa Rosa is ousting him too.

    Among those calling for Foppoli’s resignation are all eight other mayors in Sonoma County, at least two Council members, and several other state and local officials. All in all, over a dozen lawmakers have expressed their desire for Foppoli to resign.

    The legal actions that can be taken against Foppoli are still disputed, as the California statute of limitations raises issues against using older allegations as anything other than evidence to support patterns of behavior described in more recent allegations. Other evidence against Foppoli is currently being collected and assessed, though it appears that there is a fair amount of evidence against him, according to details from the San Francisco Chronicle.

    As this story continues to develop, Sonoma County residents will wait solemnly to see what becomes of Foppoli and the women who have accused him of sexual assault.

    One such resident, Healdsburg freelance writer and editor Matt Villano, said that his “heart breaks for the women [Foppoli] victimized”, that “they are heroes for coming forward” and “this man’s depravity knows no bounds.”

    “There is no place in our society for sexual predators. None. I also patently reject misogyny in all forms,” Villano said, “I believe women. I support women. I’m not making these statements as a ‘father’ or a ‘husband,’ but instead as a human being. And I hope Dominic Foppoli ends up in jail.”

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