|State Senator J. James Marzilli Jr. is accused of sexually harassing four women in Lowell on June 3. Calls for his resignation have intensified.|
State Senator J. James Marzilli Jr. of Arlington was indicted by a grand jury yesterday on charges he sexually harassed and accosted four women in what a prosecutor described as an expletive-laced escapade through downtown Lowell.
The indictment spurred a unanimous Senate vote to refer the scandal to its Committee on Ethics and Rules, which has the power to remove Marzilli from office.
"As was previously stated, the members take this matter very seriously," Senate President Therese Murray said.
Marzilli, a Democrat who has said he would not seek re-election, could be arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court later this month.
The indictment includes new allegations that he harassed two additional women on June 3, the day he was arrested. According to the indictment, he asked one woman whether she had "any undergarments under that?" Later, police said, he groped another woman, before fleeing police and resisting arrest.
Marzilli, 50, faces charges including attempting to commit a crime (indecent assault and battery), disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and annoying and accosting a person of the opposite sex.
"These are troubling allegations in which Senator Marzilli is alleged to have engaged in a string of inappropriate and sexually explicit acts against four separate women," Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr. said in a statement.
Marzilli's lawyer, Terrence W. Kennedy of Everett, said yesterday that he was informed by the district attorney of the impending case and that he had expected the indictment. He said his client denies the charges.
"It is his intention to continue to fight the charges and at his arraignment in Superior Court he will be pleading not guilty," Kennedy said.
Marzilli has been free on $1,500 cash bail since his arraignment in Lowell District Court on June 4. He checked into McLean Hospital soon after his arrest. Kennedy said yesterday that he would not comment on his client's health.
Yesterday's indictment drew a quick reaction from the state Republican Party, which called on Murray to "do the right thing by expelling Senator Marzilli."
"It is simply a waste of taxpayer dollars for him to keep receiving a paycheck while not showing up for work," said Republican Party spokesman Barney Keller.
Marzilli was first accused of accosting a woman in April. Leone did not bring charges, saying the case lacked evidence.
Marzilli was eventually arrested, on June 3, after he was accused of groping a woman sitting on a park bench in downtown Lowell. The woman screamed at him and went inside a nearby building. Marzilli would not leave, but when police arrived he fled and gave a false name and address, authorities said.
Police said they later learned that Marzilli just hours earlier harassed another woman, who told police she was walking on Jackson Street when he came up to her and said: "Oh, baby, you are so beautiful. Your body is perfect. Your butt is perfect."
The woman left, and when Marzilli followed she told him to seek a prostitute, police said.
In addition, the senator harassed two other women that day, according to yesterday's indictment. The four women said they were harassed in what amounted to four incidents over four hours.
Milton Valencia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.