A judge has sided with Boston City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo in his lawsuit seeking the release of the entire case file from the 2005 sexual assault allegation against him.
Arroyo, running for Suffolk County district attorney in next week's primary election, says his image has been unfairly tarnished by the revelation that he was accused of sexual assault when he was a teenager.
Arroyo was stripped of his leadership titles on the Boston City Council following a Boston Globe report outlining separate allegations from 2005 and 2007. While he initially retained key endorsements in the district attorney's race, he lost them in droves Wednesday — a day after his accuser in the 2005 case spoke anonymously to the Globe.
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He was in court Thursday, asking a Boston judge to allow the full 2005 case file to be made public, which he says will show the allegations were unfounded.
"This is my life and I think it's important that people understand the facts of this because I have to live with these allegations now because they're in the public space," said Arroyo. "It's only fair the conclusions in the investigation are also made public."
In an order Thursday night, Boston Superior Court Justice Debra A. Squires-Lee ruled that the Boston Police Department hand over all documents, with personal information redacted, to Arroyo by 2 p.m. Friday.
"All allegations of sexual assault should be taken seriously and I will do so as District Attorney," Arroyo wrote in a statement Thursday night. "I understand the pain and the harm that sexual assault causes. I care deeply for survivors. Although these allegations are unfounded, I know this has been difficult to witness for so many members of our community. I believe our systems should deliver justice through due process and provide spaces to be heard."
Arroyo accuses his opponent, interim Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden, of selectively leaking some of the documents to hurt Arroyo's campaign. Hayden's office did not respond to that accusation.
"I want to make sure this sort of last minute, illegal leak of an incomplete file that was made essentially to cast the impression that I did something wrong, that we get that cleared up so voters before election day can make an informed decision," said Arroyo.
But the city of Boston and the Boston Police Department say they're prohibited from releasing the file because of privacy laws.
The attorney for the alleged victim argued that releasing the case file — even with the woman's name redacted — will have a chilling effect on future cases.
"What person is going to come forward and make a complaint that they were sexually assaulted if they then know this could be put in the public and everybody's going to be debating over the coffee table whether she's lying?" asked the woman's attorney, Leonard Kesten.
Kesten says the woman stands by her story that she was assaulted by Arroyo when the two were in high school.
"It was true then," said Kesten. "It's true now."
The judge says she'll review the entire case, and try to make a decision about the file Thursday evening.
Clouds hang over Arroyo and Hayden as they face off in next week's primary. The incumbent also came under fire following a Boston Globe report about his office's handling of a 2021 case against an MBTA Transit Police officer who allegedly pulled a gun on a driver while off-duty. The newspaper reported that an investigation launched by then-District Attorney Rachael Rollins stalled after Hayden took over.
Arroyo called for Hayden to resign after the report. At the time, Hayden's office told NBC10 Boston in a statement, "We're not taking seriously any political theatrics calculated to benefit DA Hayden's opponent."
Hayden's office announced after the report that a grand jury would review the incident.
The candidates traded barbs at a debate Wednesday night in Mattapan.
"My opponent has experience holding up broken institutions, and he has some experience breaking them, too," Arroyo said of Hayden.
"The recent allegations regarding Councilor Arroyo are both horrifying and disqualifying," Hayden said. "The voters are going to have to decide for themselves. Do you believe this woman, or do you believe the man standing to my right here?"
Arroyo's accuser from 2005 said how the city councilor reacted to the Globe's initial report made her "sick to [her] stomach." She said she told the newspaper Arroyo sent her threatening emails, which appeared in a 2005 police report.
Following that interview, Arroyo lost endorsements from Mayor Michelle Wu, Sen. Ed Markey, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Ayanna Pressley and others.
Wu specifically noted she wouldn't support Arroyo's opponent, either. She said her statement "should not be taken as a tacit endorsement to vote for Kevin Hayden for District Attorney. I continue to have serious concerns about Mr. Hayden's judgment in prosecuting cases, his handling of media scrutiny of pending cases, and his conduct in office."