Jun 20, 2023 - News

Investigation finds D.C. deputy mayor sexually harassed employee

John Falcicchio was Mayor Bowser's right-hand man. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Prosper Africa

John Falcicchio, a former D.C. deputy mayor, made unwanted physical sexual advances toward an employee, according to a city investigation that also found evidence he "used the workplace as a 'dating pool.'"

Why it matters: Before resigning in March, Falcicchio was Mayor Muriel Bowser's top confidant as she navigated a rare third term leading the nation's capital. The mayor's former chief of staff devised her political strategy and wielded unrivaled power over economic development.

Driving the news: The investigation into the first of two D.C. government employees' allegations against Falcicchio found evidence he made advances involving "unwelcome touching of a sexual nature" on two separate occasions in late September and early October of last year, and that he "exposed his sexual organs" during the second incident.

  • A four-page summary of the findings posted online on Saturday said Falcicchio sent the employee "unwanted, sexually-explicit messages, including a graphic video" on Snapchat, to her personal phone.
  • The investigation, led by the mayor's legal counsel, also "found evidence to support that" Falcicchio "gave preferential assignments to women he found attractive," but ultimately it didn't substantiate allegations of "sexual or attraction-based favoritism."
  • Falcicchio did not respond to Axios' messages or calls seeking comment.

Catch up fast: The complaint was filed by an employee in the office of the deputy mayor for Planning and Economic Development, a title Falcicchio took on in 2019.

  • The legal counsel office's sexual harassment officer began an investigation on March 10, two days after representatives for an employee detailed in an email sexual harassment allegations against Falcicchio, the summary said.
  • Falcicchio abruptly resigned on March 17.
  • On March 20, Debra Katz, a prominent attorney known for her work on several high-profile sexual harassment cases, announced she was representing a D.C. employee with a complaint against Falcicchio, and days later said a second employee had filed another complaint.

Details: The officer interviewed the complainant three times and reviewed thousands of communications, including emails and screenshots of messages, according to the summary. In total, 32 interviews were conducted with 21 people, including both current and former D.C. government employees.

  • Falcicchio "declined to participate in the investigation," the summary said.

Of note: The investigation was unable to substantiate several of the complainant's allegations, including claims of bullying by senior staff in the deputy mayor's office, threatening behavior from Falcicchio, and that the complainant's job transfer within the agency was a demotion.

  • A full report of the investigation is not public. The mayor's office didn't respond to Axios' questions about whether it would be made public in the future.

What they're saying: "We take sexual harassment allegations and findings seriously and will continue to work urgently to ensure our workplaces reflect our policies and our values," Mayor Bowser said in a statement Saturday.

What's ahead: An investigation into the second complainant's allegations is ongoing, an official with the mayor's Office of Legal Counsel told the Post.


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