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Former assistant DA didn't sexually attack anybody he worked with in Boston, but he was no paragon of virtue, DA says

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins today apologized to two women in the DA's office whom she says were treated less than professionally, if not criminally, by Adam Foss, who worked as an assistant DA between 2008 and 2016.

Rollins, who became DA in 2019, last year hired an outside law firm, Goodwin Procter, to look into Foss's relationships with women working under then DA Dan Conley after singer Raegan Sealy publicly accused Foss of raping her, in a relationship that began after he'd left the DA's office and began giving Ted Talks and other speeches about the criminal-justice system.

Sealy says they met while waiting to go onstage at one such event.

Goodwin Procter attorneys Roberto Braceras and Jennifer Chunias concluded, after interviewing 28 people who worked in the DA's office - but not Foss, who declined to cooperate - and reviewing office e-mail that:

In sum, our investigation did not reveal evidence of any per se violation of any law, formal SCDAO policy, or ethical rules by Mr. Foss during his tenure as an ADA. That being said, our review identified evidence that Mr. Foss engaged in concerning conduct with at least two adult female Office interns and students that violated informal SCDAO expectations and norms.

Neither the attorneys nor Rollins detailed just what that behavior was. But Rollins said:

That Mr. Foss’ behavior in Suffolk County was not ‘criminal’ is of no solace to the women his conduct impacted and harmed. As the leader of this Office, I want to personally apologize for your experience here. You did not deserve the treatment you were subjected to. It was unprofessional and not appropriate.

The lawyers added that Conley and his administrators did nothing wrong:

Our investigation likewise did not identify any evidence that the Office’s senior management failed to respond to any allegation of misconduct by Mr. Foss during his tenure.

Following Sealy's post, Foss issued a statement that he'd been "callous and insensitive" in some of his relationships, but denied he'd ever raped anybody.

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Comments

horrible events. Very Boston.

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Uncomfortable silence at UHub. Let's just avert our eyes.

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I read it yesterday. I didn't have anything to say in response.

A guy who had an esteemed public job here and then left and allegedly did something abhorrent in another jurisdiction but didn't seem to cross the line legally or contractually while he was employed in his previous job here based on an external review. What response would you like from us fellow readers?

Similar to how I responded on a different story last night, people can do bad things and also not do bad things and be the same person. It's not that hard.

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I used to work with victims of sexual assault and abuse. I understand disclosing being a victim is not an easy decision. Or it was not when I used to work in that field.

I also had the chance to meet this person and by extension, see what he was saying and doing. He had the support of my then-boss whom I still respect deeply. To be honest, I did even then hear people talk about him--but only because those speaking had their own sexual feelings for him, and as young people, speaking about relations with their friends, he was discussed.

His activism was discussing the role of prosecutorial misconduct and police abuse. This was particularly salient when the Dookhan and Drug lab scandals were barely on people's radar. If it was in the radar, the news minimized the impact that a few sociopathic people were doing to the entire premise of justice in this state...

A lot of what was allegedly "rape," was clearly not illegal, but as with Anziz Ansari--a bad date, nothing illegal or non-consensual.

I wonder why his career and the observations he made must be dismissed when they remain highly relevant...not to sound conspiratorial, but it just so happens he was progressive and nonwhite.

Redolent of Eliot Spitzer--whose crime was what? Taking on the powerful but perhaps paying consensual adults for sexwork? Not the same, obviously, but it seems the people making a show of his ill conduct are not taking into full account how these things are complex, not so cut and dry/ black & white.

It saddens me that people hurt each other and struggle to do the right thing while not ever being afforded a way to redemption. I guess this is why it seems only the least self-aware or respecting people go on to be in public life.

When I see how open and socially harmful people inflict damage to society and get away with it and see how people who are "the broken timber of humanity" dare even admit their faults only to see statements like that DA Rollins, I can't help but think that perhaps the Right wing is right...and that's shocking to me as a very Left person.

I read all of the stories that i could find and was left wondering if that is it? There are tweets and instagrams that just perplexing. They are mildly flirty. And he must be humilated to see them made public, but apparently that isn't sufficient. There is one person that had one date wtih him and wrote a long blog post about his sexual harassment. I don't understand what she means by this. He did not supervise her or even work for the same company. It was never clear what power over her that he had access to.

As a middle aged woman, I wonder if it my own kind of stockholm syndrom. I wouldn't want anyone to tolerate the things I am inured to. But there is a lot of inuendo here. At this point if would be helpful to know exactly what non-crimes were were inappropriate behavior.