U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley declined to say whether she would be rescinding her endorsement for district attorney candidate Ricardo Arroyo, who is pushing for the release of police records he says will exonerate him of past sexual assault allegations.
“I think there’s a lot we’re still learning about that,” Pressley, a Democrat, told reporters Saturday at a campaign rally in Boston, where she threw her support behind gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Maura Healey and AG hopeful Andrea Campbell.
“But today, I’m here to talk about this justice seeker on the ballot, and why we need her in this moment, and I’m gonna go vote,” she said, before abruptly ending the media availability.
While three other big-name endorsers, City Council President Ed Flynn, former U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III and Ironworkers Local 7, rescinded their support for Arroyo’s campaign for Suffolk DA following a Globe report that detailed allegations of sexual assault during Arroyo’s late teenage years, Pressley is among those who have remained mum on the matter.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has refused to take a position, and U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey have ignored requests for comment on the two past complaints lobbied against Arroyo, who is currently the council vice president.
In a statement shared with the Herald, Arroyo said he supports a push from his fellow City Councilor Frank Baker, who has filed a “Section 17F” order, calling for Wu to release all documents “related to any of the Boston Police Department’s investigation” of the DA candidate, “while preserving the victims’ privacy.”
“I have already asked for these files from the Boston Police Department, with redactions to protect the privacy of the complainants, and I fully support this effort as well,” Arroyo said.
“I know that the release of all the documents, including the ones that have been intentionally withheld by those who illegally leaked them, will confirm that the allegations were determined to be unfounded.”
Arroyo, a 34-year-old councilor from Hyde Park, has denied the allegations lobbied against him when he was a teenager, for which he was never criminally charged, and blasted what he said were incomplete documents leaked by rival DA Kevin Hayden’s office as a political hit job.
Despite the controversy, several of Arroyo’s fellow councilors continue to stand by him, including Tania Fernandes Anderson and Kendra Lara, who reiterated her support on Saturday.
“I think that it’s very obviously an illegal leak from DA Kevin Hayden’s office,” Lara said, adding that it was aimed at impacting the Sept. 6 primary. “The accusation was found to be unfounded and the case was closed. Councilor Arroyo hasn’t been found of any wrongdoing by anyone.”
Hayden has responded to those claims by focusing on what he described as disparities between the Globe’s report and Arroyo’s changing story about what happened decades ago.
“In the recent Globe story Ricardo Arroyo was clearly caught lying multiple times to reporters as he made seemingly frantic attempts to cover up the disturbing accusations against him,” a Hayden spokesman said.
“In the statement he put out after the fact he continues to change his story while also tossing out completely false and unfounded accusations in order to deflect from his own misconduct,” he said.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Warren, Wu and former Boston Mayor Kim Janey officially endorsed Shannon Liss-Riordan for attorney general at an early vote rally in Copley Square.
Herald reporter Marie Szaniszlo contributed to this report.