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Mass. state senator charged with groping woman

  Law Center  -   POSTED: 2008/07/31 11:34

A court clerk-magistrate on Wednesday charged a state lawmaker with groping a woman in a case the district attorney declined to prosecute because it lacked evidence.

The criminal complaint charges state Sen. James Marzilli with two counts of indecent assault and battery alleging he groped a woman after an arts fundraiser April 6.

The charges were issued by Cambridge District Court Clerk-Magistrate Robert Moscow after the accuser made a citizen's request for criminal charges, a rarely used step allowed under state law. Her attorney, Wendy Murphy, said the woman swore under oath that her statement was true.

Clerk-magistrates have to find probable cause to believe a crime occurred, a lower standard than proof than beyond a reasonable doubt, the standard prosecutors must use during a trial. After the arraignment, the district attorney still can decide to dismiss the charges.

In a separate case, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone is prosecuting Marzilli for allegedly sexually harassing four women in a single day in Lowell in June. He pleaded not guilty to those charges. His lawyer later said he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and Marzilli has said he won't seek re-election.

In this case, Leone has said there wasn't enough evidence to prove the woman's claim. A spokesman, Corey Welford, said Leone plans to review a transcript of Wednesday's hearing to determine whether any new evidence was disclosed. If not, the case would not move forward.

Neither Marzilli, 50, nor his lawyer, Terrence Kennedy, attended the hearing. Kennedy said he believed the charges eventually would be dropped.


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