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District government reaches settlement for complaints filed against former mayoral adviser

Hatchet File Photo: Sage Russell | Senior Photo
Board of Trustees Chair Grace Speights leads a meeting last May.

Updated: May 13, 2024, at 2:48 p.m. 

The District government reached a settlement with two women who the former deputy mayor allegedly sexually harassed, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

The two women accused John Falcicchio, the former deputy mayor and chief of staff, of prolonged sexual harassment, which was substantiated in an investigation by the Mayor’s Office of Legal Counsel. The settlement, although not publicly available due to confidential provisions, includes a cash payout to one of the women ranging from $300,000 to $500,000, a person familiar with the matter told the Washington Post.

Board of Trustees Chair and attorney Grace Speights is representing Falcicchio. Speights is a partner for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius law firm, which often handles workplace misconduct cases, according to the Morgan Lewis website.

Speights did not return a request for comment on how the case has impacted her ability to lead as chair of the Board of Trustees or if the settlement has hindered her involvement in decision making at the University, particularly in recent weeks with officials’ handling of the pro-Palestinian encampment in University Yard.

The MOLC investigation, which began last March, found that Falcicchio had made “unwelcome” physical sexual advances towards an employee working in the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development in September and October 2022. The report also states Falcicchio sent thousands of “unwanted, sexually-explicit” messages to the employee between September 2022 and March 2023.

A second D.C. employee filed a sexual harassment complaint against Falcicchio in March, according to the Katz Banks Kumin, the firm representing the complainant. The MOLC released a report in July substantiating the allegations by the second woman that Falcicchio engaged in five instances of unwanted physical sexual advances with in 2020.

This post has been updated to correct the following: 

The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Board of Trustees Chair Grace Speights reached a settlement for two women who were allegedly sexually harassed by her client, John Falcicchio. The District government reached the settlement. We regret this error.

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About the Contributor
Hannah Marr, News Editor
Hannah Marr, a sophomore double majoring in journalism and mass communication and history from New York, New York, leads the Administration and Finance beat as one of The Hatchet's 2024-25 news editors. She was previously the assistant news editor for the Student Government beat.
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