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DA Wants Jail Time For Former Mass. State Senator

This article is more than 11 years old.

Prosecutors are recommending that former state Sen. James Marzilli serve at least a year in jail for allegedly sexually harassing four women last year, but his lawyer says he should get probation if convicted of the charges.

Marzilli is accused of making sexually explicit remarks to four women and attempting to sexually touch one of them in Lowell on the same day last June. He has pleaded not guilty.

In a sentencing memo filed in court Friday, prosecutors said they believe Marzilli should serve a year in jail, plus four years probation, given the number of alleged victims, the seriousness of the offenses, and his alleged attempt to run away when police tried to arrest him.

"His sentence should reflect a fitting punishment recognizing each of these women," Middlesex Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Dunigan wrote in the memo. "In a span of four hours, he engaged in a bizarre sexually aggressive rampage, verbally assaulting women."

Marzilli's lawyer, Terrence Kennedy, called the recommendation for jail time unwarranted and "excessive." He said Marzilli, 51, suffers from bipolar disorder. After his arrest, Marzilli was treated at a psychiatric hospital. He resigned in November.

"They wouldn't be asking for jail if not for the fact that he is a former state senator - period - not even close," he said Monday. "Jim Marzilli is a decent guy who's worked hard all his life and shouldn't be subjected to incarceration because of this. He is a decent person."

Prosecutors say they would recommend a one-year sentence if Marzilli pleads guilty. If he decides to go to trial, they say they would likely recommend a lengthier sentence of up to four years.

Marzilli's trial was scheduled to begin April 28, but has been postponed. No new trial date has been set.

Prosecutors say he approached a woman outside a community health center in Lowell and allegedly said: "The sex is sweet, the sex is sweet, you want it, and you want to go with me." About half an hour later, he allegedly walked up behind a second woman on the street and said: "Ooooh, baby, you are so beautiful," and made reference to her body.

Prosecutors said Marzilli drove by a third woman three times as she was waited for a bus and then asked her if she was wearing any underwear. Marzilli later allegedly approached a fourth woman as she sat on a bench outside an apartment building, tried to grope her and made sexually explicit comments.

When police approached Marzilli, he allegedly gave a false name and address, then ran from officers before being caught in a parking garage.

He is charged with four counts of annoying and accosting a person of the opposite sex, one count of attempting to commit a crime (indecent assault and battery), disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Marzilli, a Democrat from Arlington, spent 17 years in the House of Representatives before winning a special election in December 2007 to fill a vacant seat in the Senate.

This program aired on April 13, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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