Democratic State Rep Candidate Tino Capobianco Addresses Sexual Misconduct Allegations In Debate

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Is Tino Capobianco the man that GBH News alleged he was earlier this week?

Capobianco, a candidate running for state representative in the Democratic primary in the 19th Suffolk District special election next week to succeed former House Speaker Bob DeLeo (D-Winthrop), lost the endorsements of former U.S. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton), Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and state Senator Paul Feeney (D-Foxborough) amid sexual misconduct and harassment allegations. The 32-year-old Winthrop School Committee member served as Feeney’s chief of staff before running for this post. 

In a candidate forum hosted by State House News Service on Thursday, February 25, Capobianco started the night by addressing the allegations (the remarks begin around the 2:45 mark of the video). Here is what he had to say.

Katie, thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to address this head on. It has been a very difficult past few days for me, my family, and my supporters. And I’ll say flat out:  the allegations when I was 15 or 16 years old did not happen. Furthermore, I believe some things are trying to be spinned, the words of a 19-year-old nerdy boy into a false characterization of who I am.

Did I wear a toga to a toga party in college? Yes, I did. Did I ask somebody out multiple times as a 19-year-old and is it certainly possible that I missed her signals and wasn’t aware of that? That I believe I did. I am from the bottom of my heart truly sorry if my actions, behavior, or language caused anybody to feel uncomfortable. and I support the right of all people to come forward and tell their truth as I am doing tonight.

I have learned so from my mistakes with the hindsight as an adult. Now, I admit, I was stupid, but I’m not the person that piece is trying to paint me as, as a predator, as a monster. I believe I learned from this week and I’m going to do everything I can to be a better person. Thank you so much for the opportunity to address this here. I really do appreciate it.

So where did this come from?

Last week, Healey reportedly received emails from multiple women asking that she retract her endorsement of Capobianco. This stems from a series of alleged incidents that supposedly occurred between 2006 and 2016 — alleged by men and women alike. All of this came to public light from a report from GBH News.

As GBH News put it, the incidents purportedly include “aggressively pursuing younger women, attempting sexual acts with non-consenting inebriated women, repeatedly asking to perform sexual acts in exchange for money after being told to stop, and unwanted and repeated sexual advances.”

One allegation came from a woman who said that Capobianco pursued her aggressively despite her repeated denials, as GBH News reports.  He allegedly brought her to a nearby park, and attempted to make sexual advances toward her despite her being inebriated. The woman said that a friend of hers noticed that she was missing and removed her from the situation just in time.

Another man, a fellow student of Capobianco’s in high school, told GBH that in 2006 he was one of a few guys at their school rumored to either be homosexual or bisexual. 

The man claims that Capobianco began sending him Facebook messages making advances. The man claims that Capobianco wanted to perform oral sex on him in exchange for concert tickets. At first, the man thought Capobianco was joking but says the messages persisted — despite the man asking Capobianco to stop.

“It was persistent and consistent,” the unnamed man told GBH News. “Just knowing that he was expecting this from me just because there were rumors that I was gay, it’s just really gross. At the time, you don’t think of bringing it to a counselor or something — this was way before Me Too, or even boys being taken seriously about other boys.”

The man had his sister and two friends confirm to GBH News that they were aware of the allegations at the time.

Another woman who reached out to Healey said that she attended a party in 2010 at Capobianco’s home. He was a student at Suffolk University at the time. She claimed that he was wearing a only bathrobe and “continuously hugged female attendees despite their recoils.”

Additionally, one woman said, Capobianco asked a woman to go on dates with him over multiple years, even though she asked him to stop. She alleged that Capobianco tried to follow her home from a party before when she was intoxicated. She alleges that she hid in a bush and called her mom to come pick her up.

Capobianco is one of four Democrats running in the 19th Suffolk Democratic primary. The others are: Winthrop resident Alicia DelVento, who served as a communications director and policy adviser to state Representative Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough) and a legislative aide to then-state Representative Jeffrey Sanchez (D-Jamaica Plain); Revere resident Juan Jaramillo, who served as budget director for state Senator Joseph Boncore (D-Winthrop) and is the political coordinator for 32BJ SEIU (Service Employees International Union); and Winthrop resident Jeff Turco, an attorney and more conservative Democrat who formerly served as the Winthrop Town Council President.