LOWELL, Mass. (AP) – Investigators have expanded their probe of longtime state Sen. James Marzilli after more people contacted police following Marzilli’s arrest Tuesday on charges accusing him of sexually touching one woman and making lewd comments to another.

Three woman in as many months have accused Marzilli of making sexual advances. Late Wednesday, a spokesman for the Middlesex District Attorney’s office said that they were looking into other possible incidents involving Marzilli.

Marzilli, 50, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges he tried to grab a woman sexually at a park in Lowell, then fled police, and to charges he made lewd remarks to another woman.

“The commonwealth feels that the defendant is a danger to the community,” Prosecutor Richard Mucci said at Marzilli’s arraignment, adding he was “out of control at this point.”

Lowell District Court Judge Neil Walker rejected the argument and denied a prosecution motion to hold him without bail for three days. Marzilli was released on $1,500 cash bail on Tuesday night. He is due back in court July 3 for a pretrial hearing.

Marzilli’s troubles may not be over.

“We are looking into the possibility of other related incidents that may have occurred in Lowell yesterday (Tuesday) based on others who have now come forward,” said Corey Welford, a spokesman for Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone.

The lurid details of the arrest rocked Beacon Hill, where the Arlington Democrat is known as a stalwart liberal who just recently made the jump from the raucous House to the more staid Senate.

That portrait contrasts sharply with the actions Marzilli stands accused of.

Marzilli was arrested Tuesday, after a woman told police Marzilli approached her while she was sitting on a park bench and tried to grab her crotch. The woman told two maintenance workers who flagged down police.

When confronted, Marzilli said they were only flirting. Asked for identification, Marzilli said it was in his car and identified himself as Martin Walsh – the same name of a House colleague.

Police then described a chaotic chase through downtown Lowell as Marzilli fled on foot, racing down streets as pedestrians jumped out of the way. At one point a bank teller used a loudspeaker to direct police.

Police finally tracked Marzilli to a garage where they said they found him dodging between parked cars.

When confronted, Marzilli refused to be handcuffed and was threatened with pepper spray by the officers.

“He stated his life was over, that they were destroying him,” Mucci said, who said Marzilli also told police “you don’t understand; I am a state senator.”

Marzilli then admitted giving a false identification, according to Mucci, and said “I can’t believe this was happening with me, I was flirting with her.”

The woman told police she’d seen Marzilli a week earlier dressed in raggedy clothes, and confused him with a homeless person. When he approached her on Tuesday, she said, he was dressed in a shirt and tie and asked if she remembered him.

Mucci said a second woman called authorities after seeing media coverage of Marzilli’s arrest Tuesday. She later picked the Arlington Democrat from a photo lineup.

“Oh baby. You’re so beautiful. Your body is so perfect,” Mucci said Marzilli told the woman. The woman said she told him to take $20 out of his pocket and seek out a prostitute instead.

Marzilli, 50, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges for both incidents, including disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, assault and battery and obstruction of justice.

Marzilli’s lawyer, Terrence Kennedy, said his client “completely and totally denies” the charges.

“I can’t comment on the underlying allegations at this point,” Kennedy said Wednesday. “The only thing I’ve seen is the police report.”

Kennedy said later he had no knowledge of the additional reports the district attorney’s office was investigating.

Last month, Leone declined to charge Marzilli after a woman claimed he had touched her inappropriately in April, saying there was insufficient evidence.

Marzilli spent 17 years in the House before winning a special election in December to fill a vacant seat in the Senate. His district includes Arlington, Billerica, Burlington and parts of Lexington and Woburn.

Gov. Deval Patrick, who supported Marzilli in the special election and had Marzilli’s support early on in his own run for governor, called the situation “very, very sad.”

“I certainly wish for him all the best and a speedy and sensible and constructive resolution of whatever these issues are for everyone involved,” Patrick said.

Walsh said he had no idea why Marzilli might have used his name when confronted by police.

“Your guess is as good as mine,” Walsh told reporters. “My heart goes out to his wife and his family and the victims. I hope he gets the help he needs.”

Marzilli is married to Susan Shaer, a longtime political activist who has helped elect women to public office and founded the progressive tax policy group the Tax Equity Alliance for Massachusetts in the 1980s.

During his years in the House, Marzilli, first elected in 1990, built a reputation as a die-hard liberal.

In 1995, he was one of just eight House members to vote against a bill requiring able-bodied welfare recipients to get a job or perform community service to continue receiving benefits.

He’s also been a reliable vote against the death penalty and in favor of increases in the minimum wage, expanded abortion rights, and curbing access to tobacco. He was also an early supporter of gay marriage.



Associated Press Writer Steve LeBlanc contributed to this report.

AP-ES-06-04-08 1907EDT


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