By Josh Resnek
The television news last Thursday showed Councilor Jimmy Tri Le running like an Olympian sprinter out of the Malden Court House after being arraigned on charges of indecent assault and battery for allegedly slapping the behind of a city council colleague.
It was a startling turn of events for the second term public official
News clips aired on Channel 10 every 15 or 20 minutes for much of the evening captured Le in a 50 yard dash trying to run away from photographers at the court house.
“He looked like he was on fire running away!” said an Everett businessman
This performance did not aid Le’s legal situation or his public relations spin. He looked as though he was running away from justice and trying to hide from a harsh new reality he is facing.
“Why did he run away?” a television reporter asked Le’s attorney.
“He didn’t want to speak with you people,” was his reply.
Over the weekend, Le told he Leader Herald he had been instructed to remain silent by his attorney.
The colossal flap caused by the evening news filming him running away was followed up by a Boston Globe news story.
The Globe was given the Everett Police Report after the EPD notified the Leader Herald it could not be given out.
The Leader Herald had known of the event and its particulars and the principals involved for weeks.
The victim, who told the Globe she was asking for her privacy to be maintained, had made no such declarations to the Leader Herald, or to others she freely discussed the alleged assault with.
According to the Globe’s report, she said the incident occurred after a Saint Patrick’s event inside a private Everett club (The Schiavo Club, as told to the Leader Herald by Councilor Wayne Matewsky) on March 11.
She and a state lawmaker were leaving the function hall for the bar when Le approached her and tried to give her kisses on both cheeks, as he often does in greeting, she told the Globe. Le grabbed her head and gave her a kiss on one cheek, she said. But she rebuffed the second kiss and pulled away, and as she turned away from him, he slapped her on the buttocks, she said.
State Representative Dan Ryan witnessed the interaction, she said.
Ryan did not respond to an interview request. But he corroborated her account in the police report, a copy of which was obtained by the Globe.
The Leader Herald reported several weeks ago that Le and the colleague who has pressed charges against him, had clashed inside the council chamber. In fact, they sit next to one another.
The female councilor was heard cursing Le with an obscenity.
“You’re an a-hole,” the councilor told Le, which was reported in the Leader Herald.
The Globe reported she did that because Le repeatedly tried to prevent her from speaking.
Le apparently referenced that exchange in a text he sent her immediately after the Saint Patrick’s Day incident, saying that was for what she called him on camera, according to the police report, and reported in the Globe.
Le also pointed to that ex- change in an interview with police, the report shows, suggesting her claim might be politically motivated. The police officer asked him to leave politics out of it.
The Globe reiterated what the Leader Herald has been re- porting for months about political conflicts and a “spate” of sexual and racial allegations.
“City residents have been storming public meetings demanding the resignation of an- other city councilor, Anthony DiPierro, whose leaked messages exchanged with other city officials reveal him using racist memes and the N-word. Texts have been unearthed as evidence while the mayor and city clerk sue each other in Middlesex Superior Court over a real estate deal gone bad; the clerk alleges Mayor Carlo DeMaria extorted $97,000 from him. (The mayor denies the claims, saying he deserved the money.)”
Meanwhile, the city clerk and Everett Public School Superintendent Priya Tahiliani have both gone to the FBI and said they found surveillance cameras in their offices, as reported in the Leader Herald several months ago.
Tahiliani filed a complaint in January accusing the mayor of racial and gender discrimination. Her predecessor as superintendent, Janice Gauthier, has filed an age discrimination lawsuit against the mayor and the Everett School Commit- tee. Gauthier’s predecessor as superintendent, Frederick F. Foresteire, is awaiting court on charges of indecent assault and battery by former school employees, the Globe reported, as well.
In the latest case involving Le, the female councilor said she decided to file a report to draw a line against such abuse, according to the Globe.
“It is incredibly frustrating and sad that in this day and age women still have to justify how assault is not okay,”
she said in a statement she also shared with other media. “Touching women inappropriately is not a joke, it is not business as usual, and it should not be normalized.”
Le has a history of making unwanted hugs, according to Everett Police, as described in the Globe.
In January, the owner of Sal’s Custom Dry Cleaners reported that Le had made two female employees feel uncomfortable over the past year, asking them for dates or hugs. They also alleged he made comments such as, “I am a councilman, I can’t get a discount?” the report said.
In February, police called Le to warn he was trespassing at Sal’s Custom Dry Cleaners and at a local tailor, where an employee alleged he made vulgar statements and that she was “fearful” of him, according to another report.
When interviewed, Le asked police “if these businesses were to come in front of his council, could he vote no as some sort of retaliation,” according to the police report. Le did not respond to requests for comment from the Globe