Politics

Here’s the latest on the controversy surrounding Suffolk D.A. candidate Ricardo Arroyo

Interim District Attorney Kevin Hayden, Arroyo's primary opponent, denied his office or his campaign leaked the police reports for investigations into possible sexual assaults allegedly involving Arroyo.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
The Race for Suffolk D.A.

Boston City Councilor and Suffolk County district attorney hopeful Ricardo Arroyo could face an investigation from the state’s attorney regulators.

Arroyo, 34, this week has been thrust into the spotlight at the tail end of his campaign for the Sept. 6 Democratic primary following a report from The Boston Globe that found he was twice investigated as a teenager for alleged sexual assaults, though neither case resulted in charges.

Arroyo has denied any wrongdoing, and has said he was not aware of the investigations until the Globe approached him for an interview last week.

However, a police report obtained by the newspaper for one of the investigations in 2005, when Arroyo was 18, says detectives spoke to Arroyo and his attorney at the time.

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Now, aside from any political fallout spurred by the report, Arroyo may also face a probe from the state’s legal bar regulators, according to the Globe.

A former public defender, Arroyo apparently did not disclose he was investigated when he applied for his law license in 2014, nor did he include at least two other minor legal situations that he should have, public records and interviews with regulators revealed to the newspaper.

Those additional instances include a 2007 small claims case related to a minor car accident and a 2013 misdemeanor case for missing jury duty in Boston while Arroyo was in law school in Chicago, the outlet reports.

“Honesty is extremely important,” Kandace J. Kukas, executive director of Board of Bar Examiners, told the Globe. “It is very often more concerning if you are not honest than if you do have some of these smaller situations.”

According to the Globe, the Office of Bar Counsel investigates allegations of unethical behavior among attorneys. The body’s most recent case in 2018 resulted in a lawyer losing his license for five months because he did not disclose on his bar application that he had faced discipline as a police officer.

“If it’s a minor thing that somebody forgot about it — that would be taken into account,” Nancy E. Kaufman, who investigated allegations for 29 years for the Office of Bar Counsel, told the Globe. “If it is major and it turns into a big lie, obviously that’s going to be taken more seriously.”

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Arroyo, in speaking to the newspaper last week, insisted he provided accurate information on his application.

“I had never been told that I was under investigation,” Arroyo said. “That was an accurate answer.”

Here are a few other updates since the Globe report published on Tuesday evening:

‘Absolutely not’: Interim D.A. Kevin Hayden denies his office leaked the police reports

In recent days, Arroyo and his supporters have suggested the police reports were unlawfully leaked to the press.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Arroyo alleged an “abuse of power.”

The office of interim Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden, who is running against Arroyo in the Sept. 6 primary election, declined to comment to the Globe about the case.

A spokesperson told the newspaper only that the suspect was notified at the time when the allegations were made in both cases, and that both investigations involved only one suspect.

A Hayden campaign spokesperson on Wednesday also blasted Arroyo’s accusations, saying in a statement that Arroyo “is tossing out completely false and unfounded accusations in order to deflect from his own misconduct.”

Hayden, in an interview with WCVB on Thursday, denied he, his office, or his campaign leaked the documents.

“No, absolutely not,” Hayden said. “We couldn’t. It would be illegal for us to do so. We cannot release any case files or any documentations of any kind in connection with any sexual assault whatsoever. We wouldn’t do it in any case, and we certainly didn’t do in this case.”

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He also brought into question Arroyo’s claim that he never knew of the investigations.

“It would be very hard to believe that he didn’t know about them before,” Hayden said.

City Councilor Kendra Lara stands by her endorsement of Arroyo, calling him ‘a champion for justice’

While Arroyo has lost some endorsements since the Globe report published, he has retained vocal support from at least one political ally.

Fellow City Councilor Kendra Lara, in a statement Thursday night, re-affirmed Arroyo has her vote in next month’s election.

“When making endorsement decisions, I take my responsiblity to my constituents seriously. I evaluate candidate policies and track records to ensure that they align with the policies that my constituents have made clear matter to them,” Lara said in the statement.

“As a sexual assault survivor, I take any allegation of sexual assault seriously. After careful review and many conversations, I will be standing by my endorsement of Ricardo Arroyo for the office of Suffolk County district attorney. Ricardo Arroyo has been a champion for justice before and during his tenure on the Boston City Council, and we have a unique opportunity to ensure he continues that work as our next district attorney.”

Lara went on to say the controversy surrounding Arroyo is “a deliberate, coordinated political attack, flimsily held together by conjecture, illegally leaked files, multiple cases of abuse of power, a disregard for the privacy of survivors, and a severe violation of the responsibility entrusted to the Office of the District Attorney.

“In his short time in office, the sitting D.A. has demonstrated that he is incompetent, willing to abuse his power for political gain, and disinterested in fighting against corruption,” Lara continued. “We’ve seen the difference a D.A. makes, and we’re not going backward.”

Lara and Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson both appeared with Arroyo at his press conference held earlier this week in response to the newspaper report.

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Meanwhile, Mayor Michelle Wu, who has also endorsed Arroyo, told reporters on Wednesday she is “watching very closely to see how this story evolves and still processing and watching to see what else may come out.”

“It is troubling to learn about allegations of this nature no matter how many years ago they happened, and it is tough when voters are presented with this type of information just days away from an election,” Wu added. “Early voting starts on Saturday.”

Asked if she will continue to support Arroyo in the district attorney primary, Wu said: “We’ll see how this story evolves.”

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