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At a glance: Dominic Foppoli’s downfall under cloud of sexual assault and misconduct allegations

Resources for survivors of sexual assault

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, you can contact:

Family Justice Center of Sonoma County: 707-565-8255

Verity: 707-545-7273

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673 or online.rainn.org

When Dominic Foppoli announced he would resign as mayor of Windsor in May, he did so under a growing set of sexual assault and misconduct allegations made public by nine women.

At least two more women have since come forward to law enforcement with related claims against Foppoli in Sonoma County, local authorities and an attorney for the women told The Press Democrat on Wednesday.

That revelation came hours after Sonoma County sheriff’s detectives completed their search of his Windsor home for evidence. It was the first warrant served in a now seven-month investigation opened by Sheriff Mark Essick following an April 8 San Francisco Chronicle story with the accounts of four women who said they were assaulted or abused by Foppoli.

Foppoli has denied committing any sex crimes and maintained he is innocent of the allegations made against him.

Here is a quick rundown on Foppoli’s background, major developments in the scandal that spurred his political downfall, and what we know at this point about two criminal investigations into him:

  • Foppoli, 39, is the son of a wealthy local wine family and co-owner of Christopher Creek Winery outside Healdsburg. His brother, Joe Foppoli, told outraged Windsor residents in April that the then-mayor would be exiting that business.
  • Foppoli was first elected to the Windsor council in 2014 and in 2020 became the town’s first directly elected mayor after serving two years as its appointed mayor.
  • The sexual assault and misconduct allegations made against him date as far back as 2002 and span his career in elected office, up to April 2021. The allegations against him include rape, groping and forced oral copulation.
  • The women who have publicly come forward with their accounts include a former winery intern, a guest at his Christopher Creek Winery, a former longtime girlfriend and Windsor Councilwoman Esther Lemus, who told The Press Democrat Foppoli used intoxicants to facilitate sex with her without her consent.
  • For more than six weeks, Foppoli refused to bow to widespread demands by constituents and fellow lawmakers that he resign. His May 21 resignation announcement came after allegations made by reality TV star Farrah Abraham became public. Abraham filed an April 2 police report accusing Foppoli of sexual assault.
  • Foppoli is also under two probes by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for allegations of political malpractice. Those probes center on his voting on the Windsor Town Green and on allegations that he misreported or misspent campaign funds.
  • Foppoli’s family owns a thousand-year-old castle 75 miles northeast of Milan in the town of Mazzo de Valtellini. On Wednesday, a tenant at Foppoli’s Windsor home said Foppoli told her he would be in Italy for “several months.” Local authorities said they did not know his whereabouts.

Resources for survivors of sexual assault

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, you can contact:

Family Justice Center of Sonoma County: 707-565-8255

Verity: 707-545-7273

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673 or online.rainn.org

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