Katherine Gonzalves, the 23-year-old Somerville woman early Sunday morning in Arlington, reaffirmed her accusations Wednesday at a press conference in Boston.
“I assure you that the events contained in the police report happened,” said Gonzalves, who was accompanied by attorneys Richard Brody and Leonard Kesten and her mother, Beatriz Mamani, of Arlington.
“I have told the truth about this incident and will continue to do so,” she continued.
Gonzalves read a written statement and then Brody and Kesten took questions for about 20 minutes.
How they met
Gonzalves was a student at Middlesex Community College this past winter when she saw Henriquez, a Democrat from Dorchester, speak at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, according to Brody. At the time, she was working on a paper on the state’s proposed “three strikes” bill and later called Henriquez to interview him on the topic.
Henriquez ended up mentoring her on the paper, and after Gonzalves got it back from her professor, she called Henriquez to tell him that she had received an “A.” Henriquez then asked her if she wanted to meet up, and the two began dating at the end of February.
Gonzalves was a caseworker at an area homeless shelter through Middlesex Human Service Agency. However, she was recently laid off, Brody said. She will pursue a bachelor’s in social work at UMass Boston this coming fall.
Purpose of the press conference
Gonzalves and her attorneys said the press conference was intended to support Gonzalves’ earlier claims, end a barrage of media inquiries and show other victims of domestic violence that it’s OK to speak out.
“I am not afraid to speak out and have my voice heard,” Gonzalves said. “I am here because I did nothing wrong.”
Brody called Gonzalves a “courageous young woman” for coming forward.
“She wants people to know it is worth the trouble, it’s worth the aggravation, it’s worth all the hassle that she’s going to get,” he said, “to make her voice heard so that other people know that it’s OK to come forward and report what happened.”
Brody and Kesten, of Brody, Hardoon, Perkins and Kesten, are representing Gonzalves on a pro bono basis through a program for domestic-violence victims instituted by Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone. Gonzalves has a temporary restraining order against Henriquez and will seek a more permanent one next week, according to her attorneys. The press conference was at their Boston office at 1 Exeter Plaza on Boylston Street.
Henriquez denies allegations
Henriquez, 35, who is in his first term representing Dorchester and Roxbury, to all of the charges against him Monday in Roxbury District Court and released his own statement calling Gonzalves’ accusations “completely untrue.”
“I have dedicated myself to protecting women, not abusing or assaulting them,” he wrote. “Putting my hands on a woman is contradictory to my upbringing and my own morals.”
“Currently, this matter is in the hands of the court,” he added, “and I am confident that when this process has run its course I will be vindicated of all charges.”
Henriquez, of the Fifth Suffolk District, has continued serving as a state representative since his arrest. He is up for re-election this fall.
Prosecutors believe the assault took place shortly after Henriquez picked Gonzalves up from her mother’s Arlington home at 2 a.m. Sunday.
Henriquez wanted to meet with her that night to discuss their relationship, according to reports. Gonzalves told police that after Henriquez picked her up, their conversation heated up and then he drove around Boston for two hours, choking and punching her and forcibly keeping her in the car.
Gonzalves told police that she eventually jumped out of the moving vehicle, a Zipcar, on Forsyth Street in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood. Police observed scratches and bruises on her. She declined medical attention.
Gonzalves’ attorneys refused to discuss the incident further on Wednesday. The case is being handled by the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office.
When asked if Henriquez had ever been violent toward Gonzalves before, Brody said, “I’m not going to answer that. That will come out at the appropriate time.”
Henriquez is due back in court Sept. 27.