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Brother-in-law of Deval Patrick ordered held without bail in assault case

Bernard Sigh has been a flashpoint of controversy during Deval Patrick’s political career.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/File 2007

The brother-in-law of former governor Deval Patrick was ordered held Thursday by a Quincy District Court judge who concluded Bernard Sigh was a potential threat to public safety following his arrest on two charges, including assault with intent to rape.

Sigh was arraigned in the same courthouse Monday where he pleaded not guilty to the attempted rape charge and a second charge of assault and battery on a household member, according to Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey’s office.

The victim’s identity was not released.

Sigh has been a flashpoint of controversy during Patrick’s political career.

A month before the 2006 gubernatorial election, the Boston Herald reported that Sigh was a convicted rapist who had failed to register as a sex offender.


Sigh had pleaded guilty in California to spousal rape in 1993 and served time in jail and on probation before reconciling with Patrick’s sister and moving to Massachusetts.

Eight years later, the controversy resurfaced. In September 2014, Patrick forced out the chairwoman of the Sex Offender Registry Board, Saundra Edwards, a former prosecutor who had gotten involved in the California case involving Sigh.

Patrick said Edwards and another official had improperly tried to force his brother-in-law to register as a sex offender, after a hearing officer determined he was not obligated to register in Massachusetts.

Patrick said Edwards’s interference in the case was “inappropriate” and possibly “unlawful.”

Following a hearing Thursday, Coven ruled that the 65-year-old Sigh can be held without bail for up to 120 days or until his trial is held. The case against Sigh is scheduled to return to court Jan. 12, according to Morrissey’s office.

John R. Ellement can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.