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Pedro Lasarte and the woman gave conflicting accounts of what touched off the dispute.
Pedro Lasarte and the woman gave conflicting accounts of what touched off the dispute.

A Boston University professor is on unpaid leave following his arrest on charges that he attacked a woman with a key and threatened her with brass knuckles inside an Arlington home, officials said on Sunday.

Pedro Lasarte, 65, was arrested Feb. 10 at a house on Moulton Road after a woman told police that he scratched her arm with a key and brandished brass knuckles, telling her, “I know where to hit you with these where there won’t be a mark,” according to an Arlington police report.

A working phone number for Lasarte could not be located on Sunday, and he did not return an e-mail seeking comment. It was not clear who is representing him.


Lasarte and the woman gave conflicting accounts of what touched off the dispute, with the woman saying it was over washing dishes and the professor saying he was angered over purchases that she made with his credit card, according to police.

Colin Riley, a BU spokesman, said Lasarte, a Spanish professor, has been placed on unpaid leave, but declined to say whether his status would change while the case is pending.

According to the arrest report, officers responded to the home in the afternoon and encountered Lasarte, who was known to one of the officers and who “was being belligerent . . . not listening to our commands while repeatedly questioning our motives/requests.”

The report added, “Eventually, we were able to persuade Lasarte to don a pair of pants,” and he was handcuffed for officer safety.

He told police that he was upset with the woman for running up $3,000 in charges on his credit card, but he denied touching her, according to the report.

It does not identify the woman or state her relationship to Lasarte. It was not immediately clear if he lives in that home.


The woman said she was washing dishes earlier in the day, which upsets Lasarte, because he enjoys washing them at night, the report states. He scraped a key against her left arm, leaving red scratch marks, and pulled out the brass knuckles, police said.

In addition to making the threat, he also “thumped” the woman in the left rib-cage area with the brass knuckles, the report states.

According to police, Lasarte said of the brass knuckles, “I brought those things to this country like 30 years ago from Peru, I didn’t know they were illegal here.”

As he was being arrested, the report states, Lasarte said repeatedly, “You gotta be kidding me, you’re really taking me in for this?”

Riley could not say on Sunday how long Lasarte has taught at BU.

He is facing charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and carrying a dangerous weapon, police said.

According to a biography posted on a BU website, Lasarte specializes in Spanish American literature and culture and is working on a book titled “Pirates and Prostitutes: Illicit Commerce in Seventeenth-Century Peru.”

He was recently invited to become a member of the Peruvian Academy of Language, according to his biography.

Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.