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Rollins Investigating Sexual Assault Allegations Against Former Prosecutor Adam Foss

The Suffolk County District Attorney's office is investigating allegations made against a former prosecutor in an online post published this week.

District Attorney Rachael Rollins said she has retained an outside law firm to investigate claims that former prosecutor Adam Foss, who is now a prominent criminal justice reform advocate, "engaged in behavior that was either inappropriate, an abuse of authority, unethical or illegal." Foss denies the allegations.

Writer and singer Raegan Sealy outlined the sexual assault allegations in a Medium post published this week. Sealy also said she's learned that other women witnessed or experienced Foss' misconduct but were afraid to come forward.

"In any situation, sharing intimate details of deception, coercion, manipulation and sexual assault can be difficult and take courage. I am grateful to the women who have come forward," Rollins said in a statement released Friday afternoon.

Foss also released a statement Friday, saying "some of my callous and insensitive behavior has caused many people anguish, but I deny any allegations of nonconsensual sexual relations."

"With respect to District Attorney Rachael Rollins' recent statement referencing a pending investigation, I do not wish to compromise that process by commenting further. In addition, this is a more appropriate time for me to listen than to speak," he continued.

Foss was a Suffolk County prosecutor from 2008 to 2016, serving before Rollins took office. But Rollins said she was friends with Foss, so has retained the law firm Goodwin Procter to do an independent investigation. She said some of the allegations appear to have been from while Foss was a Suffolk County prosecutor. Boston police are also investigating the claims, Rollins said.

"This will not be a quick or easy process and it is important to give anyone that may have their own story to share the time and space to do so in a safe and comfortable way," she said. "Every investigation will be investigated fairly and thoroughly."

Foss is well known for a 2016 TED Talk on criminal justice reform. He founded the group "Prosecutor Impact" to look at the role of prosecutors and mass incarceration.

This article was originally published on November 20, 2020.

Deborah Becker Twitter Host/Reporter
Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.

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