fb-pixelSuffolk DA candidate Ricardo Arroyo was twice investigated in possible sexual assaults. He says he was never informed. - The Boston Globe Skip to main content

Suffolk DA candidate Ricardo Arroyo was twice investigated in possible sexual assaults. He says he was never informed.

The Boston city councilor faced no charges following separate investigations

“I want to be clear — I never did what has been alleged, then or ever,” Boston City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo has told the Globe.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

A high school student told police in 2005 that she was sexually assaulted by her then-classmate Ricardo Arroyo, now a candidate for Suffolk district attorney, according to police and school records obtained by the Globe. Two years later, a second teenage girl reported to police that she believed Arroyo may have raped her after she got inebriated at a party, records show.

The two cases were investigated separately by police and neither led to charges, according to a Boston Police Department spokesman.

Arroyo, a city councilor currently locked in a heated campaign to be the district attorney in the jurisdiction that includes Boston, said in an interview that he only learned of the accusations and the investigations when he was questioned by the Globe.

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“I want to be clear — I never did what has been alleged, then or ever,” Arroyo told the Globe. “I was never made aware of either of these allegations. I was not questioned by either Boston Public Schools or any law enforcement officials, or disciplined in any way in relation to these allegations or otherwise.”

Arroyo described the interview as “the hardest sort of conversation I’ve ever had in my life.”

In the course of the hour-long interview and in written responses to follow-up questions, Arroyo offered several responses that ran counter to police records and official statements. Police records explicitly state that a detective spoke to Arroyo and his attorney in the 2005 case. And a spokesman for Kevin Hayden, the current Suffolk district attorney, said Arroyo was contacted back then regarding both investigations. Arroyo is running against Hayden in the Sept. 6 primary for the county’s top law enforcement position.

If Arroyo was aware of the allegations, he could face serious professional repercussions. When he applied for his law license in 2014, Arroyo claimed he had never been investigated for any crime — misdemeanor or felony.

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In the 2005 case, the accuser, then 17, told police that Arroyo, then 18, pressured her to perform oral sex on several occasions over the course of four to six months, according to the police records.

The accuser did not respond to Globe requests for comment. The Globe does not name alleged victims of sexual assault without their permission.

The records in the 2005 case show the girl told police she and Arroyo had known each other since sixth grade, and were “really good friends.” She once sent him a Valentine’s Day letter saying she loved him, though she told detectives she meant only as friends, according to the police report.

The girl and her mother first brought the allegations to school administrators, who referred the matter to Boston police. Two detectives visited Arroyo’s childhood home on Nov. 3, 2005, and spoke to his mother, according to a police report. Arroyo was not there, but he spoke later that evening to one of the detectives by phone and told her he planned to hire a lawyer, records show.

Arroyo denied last week ever speaking with law enforcement. “I know I would remember that,” said Arroyo, who declined to make his mother available for an interview, citing her health.

In the police report, the detective from the Sexual Assault Unit noted that Arroyo had an attorney, Jose Vincenty. Vincenty told the Globe last week that he had represented Arroyo at the time, but declined to comment further, citing attorney-client privilege.

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Arroyo said Vincenty was a family friend who helped him navigate issues at John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, where Arroyo said he had been struggling academically. Arroyo declined the Globe’s request to waive attorney-client privilege so Vincenty could discuss the issue.

The Globe obtained the police and school documents — but not the full case files — from someone who had copies of the records. Boston police confirmed that the complaint numbers on both sets of documents were authentic, but declined to release complete sets of documents or discuss the details of the allegations.

Reporters reached out to each of the police and school officials cited in the documents. Several did not recall the cases, while others did not respond to requests for comment.

Police spokesman Sergeant Detective John Boyle said that both cases were referred to the district attorney’s office, and that both were investigated. The 2005 investigation was closed without criminal charges after eight months; the 2007 investigation was closed without criminal charges after five months. Boyle declined to say why either case was closed.

A spokesman for Hayden’s office, James Borghesani, also declined to release complete sets of documents on the cases, citing state law that protects sexual assault reports. He declined to comment on why the cases were never prosecuted.

Borghesani did say that in both cases, the suspect was notified at the time the allegations were made. Borghesani did not name the suspect, but said that in both cases, there was only one. The police reports obtained by the Globe name only Arroyo.

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In a statement released Monday evening, Arroyo alleged the records were illegally obtained, incomplete, and omitted details showing that the allegations were unfounded.

“As I have said from the beginning — I was never informed that I was the subject of any investigation, and I was never questioned by either Boston Public Schools, the Boston Police Department, or any other law enforcement,” he said in the statement.

In the second case, a 16-year-old girl told police in May 2007 that she thought she had been sexually assaulted by Arroyo, then 19. The girl had been drinking at a house party on Geneva Avenue and told police she could not remember everything that happened. She said that after the party she found herself barefoot in front of her home, unsure how she got there, and that her “private area” hurt the next day. She said she was “not [a] hundred percent sure if she was raped.”

She said she went to the hospital for treatment, but left before being evaluated, according to the report. The documents obtained by the Globe did not include records from any follow-up investigation or information about how the case was closed.

“I was never contacted about this,” Arroyo told the Globe. “I was never called about this. No woman has ever came to me and said this.”

The woman who made the allegation exchanged Facebook messages with a Globe reporter over several days, saying at first that she just wanted to be left alone.

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“I have nothing to do with Ricardo Arroyo and do not want anything from when I was a minor associated with Ricardo arroyo (sic) thank you,” she wrote on Aug. 16.

The next morning, reporters spoke with Arroyo, and told him of the allegations against him. Reporters did not share the names of the alleged victims, and Arroyo did not ask. He was steadfast that he knew nothing of either case.

However, about five hours after he left the interview, Arroyo contacted the woman who made the allegation in 2007. The woman shared with a reporter a Snapchat message from a friend, saying her landlord was looking for her number to give to someone named Ricardo. The woman said she felt harassed by all the people looking to talk to her.

Then, the woman sent a screenshot of a Facebook message from Arroyo himself, asking to speak. “Hey it’s been a long time! I need to speak with you can we talk?” he wrote. A little more than an hour after the woman received the message from Arroyo, she wrote to the reporter again.

“I did not speak to Arroyo because like I told you earlier I do not associate any assault from my youth with Ricardo,” she wrote. “For clarity purposes. Ricardo arroyo did not assault me ever. I do not know who did or what happened.”

When asked about his outreach, Arroyo later released this statement: “I realized that this may involve someone who I know, and I reached out to talk with her to try to find out more information. When we finally spoke, she informed me that she had already communicated with the Globe that I had never assaulted her, that she had never accused me of anything, and never believed that I had.”

Arroyo, a former public defender from Hyde Park, was elected city councilor in 2019. At 34, he is seeking to become among the youngest district attorneys in modern Massachusetts history, as well as the first Latino to hold the Suffolk DA post.

Hayden has been under fire since the Globe reported earlier this month on his handling of a case involving two Transit Police officers involved in a coverup after one of the officers brandished a gun during an off-duty traffic dispute. In the wake of the story, MBTA Transit Police leadership called for the appointment of a special prosecutor and Arroyo demanded Hayden’s resignation.

The lack of prosecution in a sexual assault investigation is common, experts say. One factor: Survivors can feel ashamed, terrified, and overwhelmed at the prospect of going to police or following through with investigations.

“It’s typical for people to not press charges or even talk to the police or anybody about the assault,” said Duane de Four, interim executive director of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. “Rape and sexual assault are known to be the most underreported crimes.”

Stacy Malone, executive director of the Victim Rights Law Center, said that generally it is “extremely normal” for victims to not follow through with criminal complaints.

“I see it every single day,” she said. “Oftentimes when they get to law enforcement, they are nervous, scared, and not believed.”

All lawyers seeking to join the state bar association must fill out an application — called a petition for admission — that includes a series of detailed questions about their background and character.

“Lying on your petition for admission is serious because lawyers are supposed to be honest,” said attorney Nancy E. Kaufman, who investigated misconduct allegations against lawyers for 29 years for the Office of Bar Counsel.

The state Rules of Professional Conduct dictates that any attorneys who are dishonest or “knowingly make a false statement of material fact” on their bar application can face discipline. Sanctions in such cases have included a suspended bar license for six months or more.

Arroyo signed his completed petition for admission on May 7, 2014, attesting that each of his answers was “true, complete and candid,” according to a copy of the 18-page document the Globe obtained through a public record request.

The application asked Arroyo whether he had “ever been charged with or been the subject of any investigation for a felony or misdemeanor other than a minor traffic charge?”

The question was unambiguous: Applicants must disclose “any investigation.” Arroyo wrote no.

Arroyo defended his bar application in an interview, saying the first time he heard about the allegations was from the Globe.

The questions on the bar application are supposed to attest to a prospective lawyer’s character, according to the Board of Bar Examiners, the body that vets candidates for the bar. Candidates are expected to disclose being the subject of any criminal investigation, even if it does not result in charges, said the board’s executive director, Kandace J. Kukas.

“It is a broad question on purpose,” Kukas said. “You are expected to be honest with us.”


Andrew Ryan can be reached at andrew.ryan@globe.com Follow him @globeandrewryan. Andrea Estes can be reached at andrea.estes@globe.com. Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com. Follow her @evanmallen.