Adam Foss, a former Boston prosecutor who became a criminal justice reform advocate and speaker on mass incarceration, was charged by the Manhattan district attorney on Tuesday with rape and sexual abuse. Prosecutors say Foss, 42, raped a woman while she slept in a New York hotel room in October 2017. The incident occurred after the victim, 25 at the time, had fallen asleep after she had repeatedly said no to his advances, the New York Times reports. After Foss pleaded not guilty Tuesday, his lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, said that his client has known about the investigation for two years. Gottlieb said that the case was “very disturbing” because of a “historic and stereotypical racial dynamic involving a Black man and a white woman.” When asked if the sexual encounter with the woman and his client was consensual, Gottlieb replied that all contacts were consensual.
Foss, who remains free on supervised release, became nationally known after leaving the prosecutor’s office in Suffolk County, Ma., in 2016. That year, he launched the nonprofit organization Prosecutor Impact, which trained prosecutors in practices he believed would result in lower incarceration rates. This organization landed him on lists like Fast Company’s most creative people and The Root’s 100 most influential Black Americans. Allegations of misconduct against Foss are not new. Last year, the Suffolk County prosecutor’s office investigated Foss, who worked in the juvenile division from 2008 to 2016, after accusations about his behavior surfaced online. Goodwin Procter, an independent law firm hired by the district attorney, found that although Foss had “engaged in concerning conduct with at least two adult female office interns and students,” he had not broken laws or violated office policies. The firm’s attorneys interviewed 28 people and conducted targeted searches of electronic documents in the course of their investigation. Foss denied any sexual misconduct, telling WBUR, “I have seen recent social media posts alleging improper conduct in my past. I recognize that some of my callous and insensitive behavior has caused many people anguish, but I deny any allegations of nonconsensual sexual relations.”