June 4, 2008
Democratic state Sen. James Marzilli was arraigned Wednesday on charges including attempted sexual assault after a Tuesday afternoon incident in Lowell where he used a fellow lawmaker's name to identify himself to police, prosecutors said. Also Wednesday, a third woman leveled charges against Marzilli as details of his bizarre case emerged.
Marzilli was arraigned on attempting to commit indecent assault and battery, lewd and lascivious behavior, resisting arrest, obstruction of justice, and disorderly conduct, after the Arlington Democrat allegedly attempted to grope a woman. Publicity around the case prompted a second woman to come forward and pick Marzilli out of a lineup Wednesday, after which he was charged with annoying and accosting a person of the opposite sex.
Marzilli, 50, told police he was "Martin Walsh" of Medford, giving the name of former House colleague Rep. Martin Walsh (D-Dorchester), according to the police report read by prosecutors in court.
Marzilli's case rocked the State House on Wednesday, where the Senate met in a full formal session and lawmakers and staff were abuzz over the incident, exhibiting a mix of concern and dark humor. As Walsh spoke with a reporter outside the House Chamber, several colleagues teased him about his unwitting role. When he arrived in the House Chamber, Walsh was slapped on the back and surrounded by colleagues.
Walsh said he was uncertain why Marzilli would give his name to police. Walsh said was unaware of any bad blood between him and Marzilli.
"I don't know why he used my name," Walsh told the News Service.
Walsh said, "I feel bad for his wife, his family, I feel bad for the victims I don't respect any man who intimidates a woman, gropes her. Obviously, he's an individual with some problems who needs some help. I hope he gets it."
According to the police report, Marzilli wept and repeated, "I can't believe this is happening" while in the back of the cruiser Tuesday, then said, "I really screwed up."
Police said Marzilli told them, "You don't understand I'm a state senator."
His attorney said Wednesday morning that the charges were "ridiculous." In an interview on WBZ Radio, attorney Terence Kennedy said Marzilli "completely denies" the allegations.
In April, the 50-year-old Arlington progressive was accused of sexual assault on a third woman during an Arlington incident, but Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone decided last month not to pursue the case, saying there was insufficient evidence.
Marzilli had been released Tuesday night on $1,500 bail.
According to a police report, the alleged victim said Marzilli approached her while she was sitting on a park bench outside a bank and an elderly housing development on Middle Street around 3 pm Tuesday. Marzilli, whom she had seen the week before dressed shabbily and "unkempt," allegedly made an inappropriate comment and tried to grab her below the waist, which she forcibly prevented, the woman told police.
Marzilli was approached by Lowell police a short time later, then allegedly gave police Walsh's name and the Medford address before fleeing on foot. Police chased him and caught him in a Lowell parking garage, threatening him with pepper spray unless he stopped resisting and placing him under arrest on Market Street around 3:45 pm.
Police said Marzilli told them they were destroying him and that his life was over, saying, "She was flirting with me I was flirting with her."
A second woman said Wednesday that Marzilli had also approached her on Tuesday and told her, "Ohhhh baby, you're so beautiful, your body is so perfect." According to police, the woman said Marzilli followed her until she suggested he use $20 to find a prostitute and threatened to tell police. She came forward Wednesday after seeing Marzilli on TV.
Marzilli's Senate election, following 17 years in the House, came after a contentious and occasionally nasty Democratic primary that saw him beat out two House colleagues and a firefighter union official.
The latter, Ken Donnelly, is one of two Democrats challenging Marzilli for his Senate post this year. The other contender this year, John Hurd, is an Arlington selectman.