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John Falcicchio, Bowser’s former top adviser, accused of sexual harassment

John Falcicchio, then-deputy mayor for planning and economic development, walked with D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser in Adams Morgan on March 6. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)
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A D.C. government employee has filed a sexual harassment complaint against Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s longtime top adviser, John Falcicchio, who resigned abruptly last week after the city launched an investigation into his conduct, the employee’s attorneys said Monday.

The employee’s attorneys, Debra Katz and Kayla Morin, said in a statement Monday afternoon that they were representing a District employee who reported “serious allegations of sexual harassment” against Falcicchio, which they said included “longstanding” behavior of “unwelcome advances and sexual contact.”

John Falcicchio, Bowser’s top political adviser, departs from D.C. government

Falcicchio did not respond to a request for comment about the allegation on Monday, and it was unclear whether he is being represented by an attorney. A spokesperson for Bowser referred questions to the Mayor’s Office of Legal Counsel, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lawyers’ announcement followed a news conference at which Bowser told reporters that Falcicchio had resigned Friday after she asked the city to begin an investigation relating to him. Bowser declined to discuss specifics about his sudden departure or what she referred to as the “sensitive matter” that led to her asking for the investigation.

“It is our understanding that this behavior is longstanding and our client is cooperating fully with the investigation, which Mayor Bowser initiated immediately,” the lawyers’ statement said. “Our client is courageous. She came forward to ensure accountability and protect other women.”

The departure of Falcicchio, a longtime confidant to Bowser who held dual roles as her chief of staff and the city’s deputy mayor for planning and economic development, came as a shock to even some of her closest advisers. After briefly mentioning his departure at the end of a news release on Friday afternoon, the mayor and spokespeople for her administration did not return repeated requests for details on Falcicchio’s exit, allowing rumors to proliferate through the weekend about the circumstances around it.

At the Monday news conference — Bowser’s first public appearance since Falcicchio’s exit — the mayor said she was made aware of allegations related to Falcicchio toward the middle of last week and launched an investigation the following day. Falcicchio submitted his resignation Friday, she said. Pressed on specifics about the rumors, Bowser said the incident did not involve a recent bus tour Falcicchio attended to promote the National Cherry Blossom Festival in the city.

The investigation, led by the administration’s legal counsel office, “does not involve any allegations of improprieties related to business transactions,” Bowser said. “There is no reason for our important work on behalf of the residents of the District of Columbia to slow down because of John’s departure.”

Vanessa Natale, deputy director in the legal counsel office, said at the news conference that if the investigation found any criminal behavior, it would be referred to the proper authorities. Bowser said the investigation did not involve any other members of her administration.

Katz has represented high-profile victims of alleged sexual assault, including Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh of misconduct that allegedly occurred when they were teenagers. Katz’s clients have also included former employees of the Washington Commanders who accused the team of creating a hostile work environment.

Katz did not immediately respond to a phone call requesting comment.