State Rep. pleads not guilty to assault charges
BOSTON (WHDH) -- State Representative Carlos Henriquez entered a not guilty plea to assault and battery charges in court Monday after he was accused of attacking a woman, hitting her, and holding her against her will in his rented Zip Car.
The alleged victim told police Henriquez wanted to talk to her about their friendship at 2 a.m. Her mother says she warned her daughter to get rid of him and that she didn't want any trouble -- but it came anyway.
“I heard she was screaming. I heard a car so I run downstairs. So when I opened the door that’s when I heard the car was taking off," the alleged victim’s mother said.
The police report says the 35-year-old representative from Dorchester refused to let the woman out of the Zip Car he'd been driving after an argument ensued, grabbed her wrists so she couldn't leave and that "…Henriquez punched her with a closed fist repeatedly and strangled her" in the car.
When she finally got out of the car near Huntington Avenue, she flagged down a Northeastern University officer.
Henriquez said nothing as he left court surrounded by protective friends.
“I just want to say that Representative Henriquez adamantly denies these allegations. Frankly, he's shocked by them," said Stephanie Soriano Mills, defense attorney.
But the mother of his alleged victim says she's not shocked at all. Henriquez, she says, treated her daughter poorly once before and now she's worried he'll use his political clout to get even.
"I am surprised and I am scared at the same time because I know he know a lot of people and I don't want that," the alleged victim’s mother said.
Representative Henriquez posted bail, but nobody answered at his home.
Governor Deval Patrick was asked about the alleged incident and said it's concerning.
“I just found out about it and I’m obviously troubled about that,” said Gov. Deval Patrick.
Henriquez, a Roxbury native, sits on several joint committees including education and drug abuse. He’s up for reelection this fall and his constituents say they want to see how this plays out before they decide how they’ll vote.
“Nobody is perfect," one woman said. "Look at our politicians, they are not perfect.”
“I think they should be held to a standard just like the regulars, the rest of us, the same standards,” one man said.
House Speaker Robert DeLeo released a statement that said, “These allegations raised are disturbing and troubling and should be taken very seriously. The matter now being happened by the appropriate authorities and that process will play out.
The state representative also faces larceny and witness intimidation charges. In court it was said that police are looking for a search warrant to get into the rented car because they believe they will find the alleged victim's sandals in the vehicle.
The next step in that process will be an arraignment. He's scheduled to be arraigned in Roxbury District Court on Monday.