Crime: Leading criminal justice reform advocate Adam Foss was indicted on charges that he raped a woman while she slept

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Adam Foss signs a poster as he participates in the Television Academy's UNLOCK OUR POTENTIAL member event at the Academy's Wolf Theater and Saban Media center on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016 in Los Angeles. Danny Moloshok/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images © Danny Moloshok/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images Adam Foss signs a poster as he participates in the Television Academy's UNLOCK OUR POTENTIAL member event at the Academy's Wolf Theater and Saban Media center on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016 in Los Angeles. Danny Moloshok/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images
  • Criminal justice reform advocate Adam Foss has been indicted on a charge of rape.
  • Prosecutors allege he raped a woman in a New York hotel room in 2017.
  • Foss, a former prosecutor, speaks publicly about mass incarceration.

Adam Foss, a leading advocate for criminal justice reform, has been indicted on a charge that he raped a woman in New York City while she slept, the Office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg  Jr. announced Tuesday.

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"I thank this brave survivor, who had the courage to come forward and share her story," Bragg said in a statement.

Foss, a 42-year-old former Massachusetts prosecutor and nationally recognized public speaker, exchanged calls and texts for about a month with a 25-year-old woman who he then met in 2017 at a Midtown hotel, according Bragg's office.

The woman said she repeatedly turned down Foss' sexual advances but that he raped her while she slept, prosecutors allege.

Foss is charged with first-degree rape and sexual abuse. He did not immediately return Insider's request for comment on Tuesday but has previously denied allegations of non-consensual sex.

The website for the nonprofit he founded, "Prosecutor Impact" — which offered training for prosecutors — was down on Tuesday.

Adam Foss. Danny Moloshok/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images © Danny Moloshok/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images Adam Foss. Danny Moloshok/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images

"The whisper network"

Foss, who was a prosecutor in greater Boston between 2008 to 2016, made a name for himself speaking out against prosecutorial misconduct and misuse of power — racking up awards and public speaking gigs around the country.

In 2017, he was honored as the Nelson Mandela Changemaker of the Year by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

The Root referred to Foss as one of the 100 most influential Black Americans of 2016, the Massachusetts trial court said in a release ahead of a public speaking event.

In 2015, the National Law Journal selected him as one of the country's top 40 up and coming lawyers, and the Massachusetts Bar Association voted him Prosecutor of the Year in 2013.

By 2019, though, his reputation started to take a hit when allegations of inappropriate — if not criminal — behavior started to gain traction online.

In 2020, writer and singer Raegan Sealy came forward in a blog post titled "The Wolf and the Whisper Network," in which she detailed several meet-ups with Foss — including when she said she woke up to Foss having sex with her in a New York hotel room. She described the experience as rape.

She detailed the mental and emotional toll the experience had on her and wrote about other women she said she later learned were abused by Foss or witnessed his misconduct but were afraid to come forward.

Sealy's post prompted Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins to launch an independent investigation into Foss' behavior while he was a prosecutor. The probe involved interviewing 28 people and searching electronic records.

While the findings of the investigation didn't rise to the level of "criminal conduct," the office found, Rollins called Foss' behavior "troubling."

Investigators did, however, find Foss engaged in "concerning conduct" with at least two female interns and students in the office.

The New York indictment is the first time Foss is facing criminal charges stemming from his alleged misconduct.

Sealy, through an attorney, declined to comment on the indictment Tuesday.

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