MEDFORD — A state representative from Boston was sentenced today to serve six months in a house of correction for assaulting an Arlington woman he was dating in July 2012.
A Cambridge District Court jury convicted Carlos Henriquez, a Democrat who represents Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, on two assault and battery charges, but acquitted him of a third assault and battery charge, one count of witness intimidation, and one count of larceny under $250.
The conviction prompted a chorus of calls for his resignation. Governor Deval Patrick, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh all called for him to resign, and DeLeo said he was taking steps to expel him, if he does not step down.
“I would call upon him again, based upon the seriousness of these convictions, that, instead of going through that [expulsion] process, that he would consider resigning from the House,” DeLeo said.
The victim, Katherine Gonzalves, testified about the events that unfolded on July 8, 2012, and underwent a rigorous cross-examination by Henriquez’s defense attorney, Stephanie Soriano-Mills.
Following the jury’s verdict today, Judge Michele Hogan expressed concern that Henriquez was not accepting responsibility for his actions. She told Henriquez from the bench that he should have ended his interactions with Gonzalves early that morning when Gonzalves told him she was not interested in having intimate relations.
“When a woman tells you she doesn’t want to have sex, she doesn’t want to have sex,’’ Hogan said, adding that she was “very concerned that you’re not remorseful.’’
Hogan sentenced Henriquez to 2½ years in the Middlesex County House of Correction, with six months to be served behind bars.
Henriquez, who did not take the stand, appeared calm as he listened to the verdicts. He was expressionless as Hogan imposed the sentence. And he was stoic as court officers handcuffed him and led him out of the courtroom to await transportation by the sheriff’s department.
Leonard H. Kesten, a lawyer for the victim, said, “She is gratified. She always told the truth, she didn’t want to be in the media, she didn’t want to be beaten.”
Kesten said that he and his partner, Richard E. Brody, represented the victim as part of a program under the Middlesex district attorney’s office that helps victims of abuse file restraining orders.
They began representing her when she decided to file a restraining order against Henriquez. He said the victim has no plans to sue Henriquez.
“This was about a relationship that had a very bad night. He had a bad night, he lost his temper,” Kesten said.
Middlesex prosecutors recommended that Henriquez be required to serve one year behind bars.
But Soriano-Mills asked that Henriquez be placed on probation, citing his lack of a criminal record, his active role in the Dorchester community, and the fact that jurors acquitted him of three of the five charges he faced.
“A large portion of [Gonzalves’s] story, they don’t believe,” Soriano-Mills said.
She also repeated her client’s insistence that he did not harm Gonzalves, which prompted the judge to question whether Henriquez was remorseful.
Gonzalves, who was not in the courtroom for the verdicts, was in court for the sentencing hearing. She declined to give a victim impact statement.
In a statement summarizing the case following Henriquez’s arrest in 2012, Middlesex prosecutors alleged that he picked up Gonzalves in Arlington and physically assaulted her inside the car, grabbed her cellphone, and drove into Boston, where Gonzalves jumped out of the car and got help from Boston and Northeastern University police.
Democratic Governor Deval Patrick said in a statement this afternooon, “In light of today’s jury verdict, Representative Henriquez should immediately resign from the House.”
In brief remarks outside his State House office, DeLeo, also a Democrat, urged Henriquez to resign and called his conviction “very serious.”
DeLeo said he would also immediately refer the matter to the House Ethics Committee to begin the formal process for expulsion, in case Henriquez refuses to resign
DeLeo said he did not have a timeline for how long it might take to oust Henriquez, but said the matter would eventually come to a vote of the full House. DeLeo said he hoped, however, that Henriquez would resign and spare the House from having to take that vote.
Walsh issued a statement, saying that it was a “sad day” for Walsh’s district.
“A jury has convicted Rep. Henriquez and a judge has sentenced him to serve jail time. In light of this, I would encourage Rep. Henriquez to resign, in the best interests of the constituents he represents,” the statement said.
“Violence against women is an epidemic, and is totally and universally unacceptable. This case shines a spotlight on something that plagues our nation every single day. Nearly one quarter of women in this country have experienced violence; Boston is no exception to these startling facts,” he said.
Henriquez joins a roster of Democratic state lawmakers convicted of crimes in recent years. Former senator Anthony D. Galluccio of Cambridge was jailed in 2010 for violating the terms of his house arrest by drinking alcohol after he was involved in a hit-and-run accident; former senator J. James Marzilli Jr. of Arlington was convicted in 2011 of accosting a woman; former senator Dianne Wilkerson of Boston was sent to federal prison in 2011 for taking bribes; and former House speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi is serving an eight-year prison sentence after he was convicted of conspiracy, fraud and extortion in 2011.
After news broke of Henriquez’s sentencing, Republican Representative Elizabeth Poirier and the state Republican party called for Henriquez to resign.
“Now that Representative Henriquez has had his day in court, it is time for him to leave this institution which should in no way condone violence against women,” Poirier, who represents North Attleborough, said in a statement.
MassGOP Chairman Kirsten Hughes also issued a statement.
“If the resignation is not tendered right away, there may not be adequate time for a special election and thus robbing the good people of Dorchester representation on Beacon Hill,” the statement said.
Although Republicans were to quick to call for Henriquez’s resignation, the reaction was more muted among other Democrats. Few of Henriquez’s colleagues were eager to discuss his conviction.
“It’s very sad,” said Representative Frank I. Smizik, a Brookline Democrat who was stopped by reporters for his reaction outside the House chamber. “I like him. And he was going to be a good Rep. And if he has to leave, he has to leave.”
Smizik said Henriquez’s conviction should not be seen as a condemnation of the entire House. “If anyone gets convicted, it’s a shame on the institution,” he said. “But that’s not something that’s common in our institution. If there’s one out of 160, it’s not common in our House.”