Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, the nominee to be President Joe Biden’s Labor Secretary, briefly hired former Massachusetts state representative Carlos Henriquez to be a special assistant in 2018, despite Henriquez’s conviction years earlier for assaulting a woman who refused to have sex with him.
Henriquez was expelled from the Massachusetts state House of Representatives in 2014 after he was convicted of two assault charges stemming from a 2012 incident and sentenced to six months in jail.
His former girlfriend said in 2012 that Henriquez backhanded her across her face and punched her in the chest multiple times.
Henriquez maintained his innocence throughout the trial and after the sentence, saying in a public statement after he was convicted that “any and all contact was always consensual” and that he “never touched my accuser in any way that would cause harm or injury.”
Despite that, Mayor Walsh hired Henriquez to an $89,000-a-year special assistant job that involved antiviolence work in October 2018, with his office telling the Boston Globe at the time that the Mayor “firmly believes in second chances.”
“Carlos Henriquez served his time and, after spending his career supporting youth, helping reduce violence, assisting those in recovery, and providing trauma supports for families in need, he is eager to continue this work,” a spokesperson for Walsh told the newspaper.
But two weeks later on Nov. 9 of 2018, Henriquez stepped down from his role with the Mayor. Walsh then told the Boston Globe that he criticized Henriquez when he was convicted in 2014 and had asked him to resign from the state legislature at the time.
“I also made clear at that time, and continue to believe today, that any violence against any woman at any time is totally unacceptable,” the Boston Mayor told the Boston Globe on Nov. 9 after Henriquez stepped down.
Walsh’s office did not respond to a request for comment Saturday.
President Biden nominated Walsh, who has a long history with organized labor, to be his Labor Secretary earlier this month.
“I look forward to working with you to deliver good jobs — jobs with dignity, security, prosperity, and purpose — to all American families,” Walsh said in accepting the nomination Jan. 8.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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