- The Washington Times - Monday, March 23, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - A freshman state senator sworn in to office despite allegations he slashed his girlfriend’s face with broken glass in a jealous rage has been indicted on domestic assault charges, prosecutors said Monday.

A grand jury in Queens indicted Hiram Monserrate on three counts of second-degree felony assault and three counts of third-degree misdemeanor assault. Arraignment is expected later this week. He faces seven years in prison if convicted on the most serious charges.

Monserrate, a Democrat who was in Albany on Monday for a legislative session, issued a statement saying he did not commit a crime.

“I’ve said all along this was accident. The district attorney’s politically motivated decision to pursue this case doesn’t change the fact that this was an accident,” he said.

The 41-year-old former police officer was arrested after Karla Giraldo’s face was slashed on Dec. 19 at his New York City home. The gash over her eye required 25 stitches. Both said the incident was an accident.



Monserrate told police he tripped while holding a glass of water and that the glass accidentally hit Giraldo.

But authorities say evidence, including surveillance videos, painted a picture of a heated argument and a frightened, bleeding woman in distress.

According to the police report, Giraldo, 29, initially said she was assaulted, then changed her account after learning officers planned to arrest Monserrate. She later told police she did not wish to press charges.

After a closed-door meeting with fellow Democrats in Albany Monday, Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith said Monserrate asked to temporarily step down as chairman of the Consumer Affairs Committee. Smith had already withheld Monserrate’s $12,500 stipend until the criminal case concluded. Monserrate will retain all his other duties and collect his $79,500 base pay.

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Associated Press Writer Michael Gormley in Albany contributed to this report.

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