Suffolk alumnus and State Rep. candidate accused of sexual misconduct, loses endorsements

Suffolk University alumnus and State Representative candidate Valentino “Tino” Capobianco lost endorsements from top democrats in Massachusetts Tuesday due to sexual misconduct allegations that may have occurred while he was a student at Suffolk.

Capobianco, who graduated Suffolk with a degree in American Government and Politics in 2011, was endorsed by former Rep. Joe Kennedy III and Attorney General Maura Healey for his campaign for the 19th Suffolk State Representative seat. Both have withdrawn their endorsements since the allegations came to light.

“Since her endorsement on Friday, Maura has been made aware of several allegations of inappropriate and troubling behavior by Tino,” Corey Welford, a spokesperson for Healey, said in a statement to GBH News on Tuesday. “Based on the nature of those allegations, she is withdrawing her endorsement in this race.”

Both Kennedy and Healey said they did not know of the allegations at the time they endorsed Capobianco.

“These allegations are serious, credible and deeply troubling,” Kennedy spokesperson Emily Kaufman said in a statement to GBH News on Tuesday. “After being made aware of them, Joe notified the campaign this morning that he is withdrawing his endorsement.”

According to GBH News, who broke the story, the alleged incidents took place between 2006 and 2016 and included attempting sexual acts with nonconsenting and inebriated women, aggressively pursuing younger women, repeated unwanted sexual advances and repeated asks to perform sexual acts in exchange for money. The most recent incident that was specifically detailed by GBH News occurred in 2010.

Capobianco was a student at Suffolk from 2007 until 2011, which is during the timeframe that these incidents allegedly occurred.

Multiple people who reported him wrote letters and emails to Healey after she announced her endorsement according to GBH News.

GBH News obtained an email detailing one alleged incident at a party at Capobianco’s house while he was a student at Suffolk in 2010. According to the article, the woman who wrote the email said he was wearing “only a bathrobe” and “continuously hugged female attendees despite their recoils.”

In a statement, Capobianco denied the allegations, claiming that they originated from an opponent’s campaign.

“I know that politics can be a blood sport but I remain incredulous of the false and outrageous allegations that have suddenly been dropped on me by a rival campaign that is struggling,” he said in the statement. “In the last 6 hours, two completely untrue and ridiculous accusations have been made about me in high school. I would have been 15 or 16 at the time, and these things simply never happened.”

Capobianco stated that actions were taken out of context and were not predatory in nature.

“It is deeply personally embarrassing to see some dumb college behavior also be raised – I will own my own mistakes. It was not predatory,” he said in the statement. “I was overly enthusiastic texting someone I had a crush on. That is the juvenile behavior of a nerdy kid. In hindsight as an adult, I know that.”

Capobianco has also been endorsed by a number of others, including 67 elected officials, five labor unions, activists from around his district, Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins and State Senator Paul Feeney. Tompkins and Feeney have both withdrawn their endorsements.

Capobianco is running in a special election to fill former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives Robert DeLeo in the 19th Suffolk District.

Capobianco formerly served as the Chief of Staff for Senator Feeney, as a State House aide for DeLeo, as community affairs deputy director for the Middlesex Sheriff’s office, and spent two years as the chair of the Winthrop School Committee. Capobianco is also an active member of the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee.

Follow Will on Twitter @woodringwill