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"Educating our communities and elected officials about the needs of survivors in our local cities and towns requires year round focus. JDI is our pathway to informing and influencing the state and national agenda to end sexual and domestic violence." ~ Karen Cavanaugh, JDI board member and Executive Director of Womanshelter/Companeras, pictured here with a JDI delegation meeting with Congressman Niki Tsongas

Rep. Calls Assault Charges "Untrue," Cites work against domestic violence

State House News Service

REP CALLS ASSAULT CHARGES "UNTRUE," CITES WORK AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

By Michael Norton, Matt Murphy and Andy Metzger

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, JULY 10, 2012…..Accused of kidnapping and assaulting a young woman while in a rental car early Sunday morning, Rep. Carlos Henriquez late Monday night called the charges "completely untrue" and cited his work with organizations fighting to reduce domestic violence.

After pleading not guilty to kidnapping, witness intimidation and larceny charges in Roxbury Municipal Court Monday, Henriquez, through operatives at Sage Systems, released a 364-word statement late Monday night that represented his first remarks since he was arrested early Sunday morning at his home.

"Currently, this matter is in the hands of the court and I am confident that when this process has run its course I will be vindicated of all charges. This matter will be tried in the court and not in the media or in the court of public opinion. I can assure my supporters and critics alike that I am innocent of these charges," Henriquez said in the statement.

Henriquez, who called the past several days a "confusing and upsetting course of events," declined to provide any details of "this incident," following the advice of his attorney, but said that he would continue to work for his constituents of the 5th Suffolk District, representing Dorchester.

"This incident is unfortunate and embarrassing, but I will not shirk my duties or hide," Henriquez said.

In the statement, Henriquez also invoked his upbringing with a "strong mother" and sister, and a father who served as a mentor to many young women.

"I have been accused of some serious charges, these allegations are completely untrue," Henriquez said. "I was raised by a strong mother and also raised with a younger sister both of whom I respect and love deeply. My father, Julio Henriquez, who recently passed was a track coach and mentor to hundreds of young women from this community and I have dedicated myself to protecting women, not abusing or assaulting them. Putting my hands on a woman is contradictory to my upbringing and my own morals."

Henriquez's mother, Sandra, is an assistant secretary for public and Indian housing for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban in Washington. His father worked under former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn on city drug issues.

Henriquez, 35, pleaded not guilty to charges of domestic kidnapping, witness intimidation and larceny under $250 on Monday. Judge Kenneth Fiandaca set bail at $1,000 - the amount Henriquez posted following his arrest. He was released and is due back in court on Sept. 27.

Henriquez also faces domestic assault and battery charges. According to police, the 23-year-old woman allegedly assaulted by the freshman representative told them that Henriquez punched her repeatedly with a closed fist and strangled her in the early morning hours Sunday when he refused to let her out of his car.

A spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley said the assault charges would be referred to Middlesex County after a review of the evidence led investigators to conclude the assault likely took place in Arlington after Henriquez picked the woman up at her mother's home around 2 a.m.

Arlington police confirmed they are investigating allegations that Henriquez hit the woman he picked up in that community. Captain Richard Flynn said the investigation began "after notification from Boston" but declined to share any further details.

While calling the incident "unfortunate and embarrassing," Henriquez said, "I trust that this incident will soon be behind us all and we can continue to serve and deliver for the constituents, the residents of the 5th Suffolk District."

Henriquez also aligned himself with organizations that fight domestic violence.

"As both a community activist prior to getting elected and as an elected official I have spoken with hundreds of youth and adults about the problem of violence against women," he said. "I have worked tirelessly with multiple agencies and organizations who champion against the issue of domestic violence. It is a mission I am committed to in my personal and public life."

Maureen Gallagher, the policy director for Jane Doe Inc., said Henriquez has been supportive in the past of the anti-domestic violence group's budget requests, and has reached out on occasion to the organization offering support or been available to discuss legislation.

"As this is unfolding we certainly stand with victims and believe any allegations, especially serious ones such as these, need to be taken seriously and addressed by the criminal justice system," Gallagher said, adding that she had not made any judgment on the truth of the charges against Henriquez.

Gallagher said it's not uncommon for accusations of domestic violence to come as a surprise to those close to the suspects. "Often people act very differently in their personal lives. The facts of this case should be what the judgment is based on," she said.

On Monday, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, asked whether he would seek an internal ethics investigation into the complaint, declined to say if he would.

"Right now, as I stated yesterday and I still feel the same way, the accusations are extremely serious nature, and as far as I'm concerned right now I would feel it's necessary for us to let, sort of, the court process play itself out, somewhat, anyways, before we decide what action, if any, is necessary," DeLeo said.

House Ethics Committee Chairman Rep. Marty Walsh, also of Dorchester, declined Monday to comment on the case, or the potential for his committee to get involved. Walsh cited confidentiality issues.

According to a Boston police report filed in court, the woman told police that Henriquez had picked her up at her mother's house in Arlington in a rented grey Zip Car, possibly a Toyota, at around 2 a.m. to talk about their "friendship."

The woman, whose name and address the News Service has decided not to publish, told police that she and Henriquez were friends at the time he picked her up Sunday, but that they had an "intimate relationship" about a month ago. Sometime after Henriquez picked her up, the woman said she received a call from her mother and asked to be taken home, but Henriquez refused, getting angry and stating, "I came here all the way for what?"

The woman told police she repeatedly asked Henriquez to stop the car, but he wouldn't and proceeded to drive around downtown Boston, Storrow Drive and the Fenway area. She said every time she attempted to get out of the vehicle, Henriquez grabbed her wrists to prevent her from leaving, and also removed the battery and SIM card from her cell phone to prevent her from using it.

Though the woman said Henriquez had yelled at her on previous occasions, she said on Sunday he punched her "with a closed fist repeatedly" and strangled her in the vehicle, according to the police report.

As the car slowed down on Forsyth Street, the woman told police she managed to jump from the moving vehicle, losing her sandal in the process, and run to a nearby building where she found a Northeastern University safety officer. Police responded to the scene and observed scuffs on her right shin and multiple bruises on her arms and wrists. She was evaluated by an EMT on the scene, but refused further medical attention, according to the report.

After returning her to her home in Somerville, police called the woman there at about 6:25 a.m. when she offered further details about the incident, prompting police to respond to Henriquez's home and place him under arrest for kidnapping, two counts of assault and battery, intimidation of a witness and larceny for stealing the woman's phone parts.

Henriquez declined to answer any questions from police, or offer a different version of events after his arrest.

On Sunday, just hours after Henriquez's arrest became public, Gov. Deval Patrick said he had just heard the news: "I'm obviously troubled about that," he said.

According to Henriquez's Twitter feed, the Dorchester resident had attended an outdoor block party Saturday on Wendover Street in Dorchester called ProjectV that lasted late into the evening until police peacefully broke up the party.

"I stopped by #ProjectV to support my friends and community. It is a peaceful loving event. Thanks for the love," read a Tweet under his name Saturday afternoon.


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