- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - State Rep. Carlos Henriquez was convicted on Wednesday of assaulting a former girlfriend and was sentenced to six months in jail, prompting calls for his immediate resignation from the Legislature.

Henriquez, a Boston Democrat, was found guilty on Wednesday by a Cambridge District Court jury of two assault and battery charges. He was acquitted of a third assault and battery charge, as well as larceny and witness intimidation charges.

The woman told police Henriquez punched and choked her during the incident, which began in Arlington.

Judge Michele Hogan sentenced Henriquez, 37, to serve six months in jail and the remainder of his 2 ½-year sentence would be suspended with the condition that Henriquez have no contact with the victim and attend a batterers program.

House rules do not require lawmakers convicted of crimes to be removed from the chamber, but Democratic speaker Robert DeLeo told reporters that he was asking Henriquez to resign immediately.

DeLeo also said he was referring the matter to the House Ethics Committee, which could hold hearings and recommend actions up to and including expulsion.

“I would call upon him … based on the seriousness of these convictions, that he would consider instead of going through that process to consider resigning from the House,” DeLeo said.

A message left with Henriquez’s Statehouse office was not immediately returned.

Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh also said the lawmaker should step down, as did Republicans who said his departure would allow a special election to be scheduled to fill the 5th Suffolk District seat.

Rep. Elizabeth Poirier, R-North Attleborough, said Henriquez had breached the trust of his colleagues and constituents.

“Now that Representative Henriquez has had his day in court, it is time for him to leave this institution which should in no way condone violence against women,” said Poirier, the assistant minority whip.

Prosecutors alleged that Henriquez held the victim down and punched her in the chest after they argued in the early morning hours of July 8, 2012, then drove to Boston with the woman still in the car.

The woman was later able to escape from the car and notify police, prosecutors said.

Henriquez’s lawyer, Stephanie Soriano-Mills, argued during the trial that the woman’s accounts of events were inconsistent and there was no corroboration of her account.

“The conviction of an elected public official, a person who was expected to uphold the law and serve the public, reflects the stark fact that domestic violence can and does happen everywhere in our society,” said Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, in a statement.

Henriquez was born and raised in the city’s Roxbury neighborhood, according to his biography.

He was re-elected in November 2012, several months after his arrest, to a second term in the House without Democratic or Republican opposition.

He serves on several House committees, including Education, Judiciary and Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

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