Boston mayor Michelle Wu (D.) is defending her endorsement of a progressive candidate for district attorney after it was reported that the candidate was investigated for sexual assaults as a teenager.
"In light of the news coverage that's unfolded, I am not withdrawing my endorsement" of Democratic city council member Ricardo Arroyo, Wu told Politico. The Boston Globe reported last week that Arroyo, who is running in a bitter primary race for Suffolk County district attorney, faced two separate investigations for sexual assaults as a teenager in 2005 and 2007.
Several Democratic figures, including former congressman Joe Kennedy III and city council president Ed Flynn, withdrew their endorsements of Arroyo in the wake of the report. But Wu stood by the candidate, saying she would not retract her endorsement because Arroyo was not charged with a crime.
"As documented in the news, these cases were closed after investigation by the Boston Police Department and the DA's office," Wu told Politico.
Arroyo, who is campaigning on "restorative justice," an end to qualified immunity for police, and the abolition of mandatory minimum sentences, was also endorsed by Massachusetts Democrats Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Ed Markey, and "Squad" member Rep. Ayanna Pressley. According to Politico, none of those lawmakers have weighed in on the controversy or retracted their endorsements.
Arroyo denied that he ever committed sexual assault and said he never knew he was under investigation. But that statement is contradicted by police records obtained by the Boston Globe, which say a detective spoke to Arroyo and his lawyer in the 2005 case, in which the then-teenager was accused of pressuring a 17-year-old girl to perform oral sex several times over a course of months.
The candidate accused his opponent in the race, interim district attorney Kevin Hayden, of using his position to illegally leak the documents to the media and damage Arroyo's campaign. Hayden's office denied any role in the scandal.
Last week, city council member Frank Baker (D.) filed an order demanding Wu release any records related to the police investigations into Arroyo.