The college student who is accusing state Rep. Carlos Henriquez of abusing and kidnapping her told reporters today that she is not afraid to speak out.
"My credibility has been questioned, and my private life has become the topic of speculation," said Katherine Gonzalves, 23, "but I am not afraid to speak out and have my voice heard. I am here because I did nothing wrong."
Henriquez, who represents parts of Dorchester and Roxbury, pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Monday. He allegedly punched and strangled Gonzalves after he picked her up at her mother's house at 2:30 a.m. Sunday, according to a police report. He then drove around Boston, allegedly refusing to let her out of the car until she managed to jump out near Northeastern University.
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Police in their report noted scuff marks on her shin and multiple bruises on her arms and wrist.
She met Henriquez in February after hearing him speak and asking him for help with research on a college paper she was working on. The couple then started a dating relationship.
Gonzalves spoke today at her lawyer's Back Bay office.
Her attorney, Rick Brody, called Gonzalves a "courageous young woman."
"All too often, defendants are provided a forum to advocate for themselves while victims struggle to make their voice heard," Brody said.
After his arraignment Monday, Henriquez's lawyer said they were shocked by the charges. He released a statement Monday night.
"I have been accused of some serious charges, these allegations are completely untrue," Henriquez said in his statement. "I have dedicated myself to protecting women, not abusing or assaulting them. Putting my hands on a woman is contradictory to my upbringing and my own morals."