WINDSOR, Calif. (KRON) — The mayor of a North Bay town is stepping back from an ‘active’ role after multiple sexual assault allegations and a vote from the town council to pressure him out of office.
Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli is under investigation by the California Attorney General’s Office with six women accusing him of sexual assault.
One of the victims includes town councilmember Ester Lemus, who reported that he drugged and assaulted her in two separate incidents.
The Windsor Town Council voted 2-to-1 in a special meeting Wednesday night for him to step down.
But he previously refused to resign, saying “I have my head held high because I know deep in my heart I have done nothing criminally wrong and will eventually be clear.”
Now, in a new statement on Friday, the mayor told KRON4:
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.
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. I do not want my presence or participation to create a distraction or cause any additional hurt for our residents.Mayor Foppoli
Mayors of eight Sonoma County towns also signed a statement demanding he resign immediately.
Without a criminal conviction or recall election, Foppoli is allowed to remain in office.
Windsor residents have said they want the entire town council to resign as well, not just Foppoli.
That’s because the council said it knew about allegations against Foppoli for at least three years.
In the special meeting, Windsor’s town manager said then-Mayor Debora Fudge received a letter in 2017 detailing an alleged incident against Foppoli from 2013. But the letter was never given to police, they said. Fudge currently serves as a councilwoman.