Expelled state representative Carlos Henriquez is running for City Council

Carlos Henriquez is planning a political comeback as a candidate for Boston City Council.
Ted Fitzgerald/The Boston Herald/Pool photo/File 2012
Carlos Henriquez is planning a political comeback as a candidate for Boston City Council.

Three years after an assault charge led to his expulsion from the state House of Representatives, Carlos Henriquez is reentering the political fray as a candidate for the Boston City Council.

The Dorchester Democrat announced this week that he is planning to run for the seat being vacated by Councilor Tito Jackson, who is challenging Mayor Martin J. Walsh this year.

Henriquez, who recently turned 40, said better representation is needed to tackle the most pressing issues in District 7, which includes Roxbury and parts of the South End and Dorchester. In throwing his name into a crowded race of at least seven candidates, Henriquez said he wants to return to doing what he loves.


“There is nothing more satisfying than serving the community that I grew up in, that has made me the man that I am,’’ Henriquez said in an interview.

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Henriquez has been seeking a political comeback since a jury convicted him in 2014 of holding down a woman and punching her in the chest after she refused to have sex with him.

At his sentencing, Cambridge District Court Judge Michele Hogan said she was sending him to prison for six months in part because of the serious nature of his crime and because of his refusal to accept responsibility for his actions.

“When a woman tells you she doesn’t want to have sex, that means she does not want to have sex,” Hogan said. “You don’t hit her. You don’t punch her. . . . I’m very concerned that you’re not remorseful.”

In a highly publicized standoff with some of his colleagues, Henriquez refused to give up his legislative seat, but the House Committee on Ethics determined that the particular circumstances in the case warranted “severe sanction.” Henriquez, who represented the Fifth Suffolk District, was expelled.


Henriquez insisted throughout the case — and now — that he is a man wrongly accused. He said he has taken the past three years to work on his mental health and said he has tried not to be bitter.

“The experience of being falsely accused, wrongly convicted, and illegally expelled from the House was a very traumatic experience for me and that was before I was even incarcerated,’’ Henriquez said. “Being incarcerated was a very extreme experience. I don’t think there is anything comparable to it.”

Richard Brody, who represented the woman in the case, said she has moved out of the state. He stressed that the case against Henriquez was sound.

“I sat through the trial, and he was convicted by a jury of his peers. They found, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he committed the crime he was charged with,‘’ Brody said.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo and state Representative David M. Nangle — who was vice chairman of the ethics panel — did not respond to requests for comment.


Toni Troop, a spokeswoman for Jane Doe, a statewide coalition that advocates for victims of domestic violence, said any eligible candidate has a right to run for office. The public also has an obligation to vet candidates and consider whether they represent the community’s values and best interest, Troop said.

“We expect the public will ask questions and really consider [a candidate’s] history and ... platform to make their own determination,’’ she added.

Henriquez said he’s learned from his ordeal. He said he was he “forced” to take a course for batterers and did not feel he belonged in the 40-week program. But the program taught him more about the importance of being mentally healthy. Now, he said, he’s a better advocate for mental health and against domestic violence.

When asked if he had any regrets, Henriquez shared one: “Being an elected official, I was too trusting of someone I did not know well enough,’’ he said. “I never thought I would be taken advantage of, and someone would hurt me that way.”

He said he does take responsibility for driving a rented Zipcar to the woman’s house on the night of the incident.

“I don’t have any closure,’’ he said. “Closure for me would be her saying ‘OK, This is the truth.’ ”

But he insists he has moved on.

Henriquez said he has been working at a nonprofit in Dorchester, training teenagers in community organizing, and helping to build relationships between residents and business owners. People have been encouraging him to run for office, he said.

He began mulling a run in December, and made a decision a month later, after Jackson launched his mayoral campaign.

Will the rest of the district be able to move past Henriquez’s experience?

“I wish people can see the whole story. But it’s all in the past,’’ he said. “I want them to see my work as an elected official.”

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the charges faced by Henriquez in 2014. Henriquez was convicted of two counts of assault and battery and was sentenced to two and a half years in a house of correction, with six months served.

Meghan E. Irons can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @meghanirons.