Ex-state rep. arrested for violating restraining order
LAWRENCE, Mass. (WHDH) -- A former state representative appeared in court Monday accused of violating a restraining order against his ex-girlfriend.
The former rep. is currently a city employee in Lawrence. His hiring is causing controversy because he replaced a man who had been on unpaid leave to care for his dying wife.
First partially blocked by the door then by his attorney, former Lawrence state rep. and former Methuen police sergeant José Santiago was arraigned on charges he violated a restraining order filed against him by his ex-girlfriend.
Prosecutors say Santiago showed up in a parking lot outside a Lawrence night club and according to a police report, threatened his ex-girlfriend.
“’If you’re not going to be with me, you’re not going to be with anyone. You’ll see what’s going to happen, I’m well known. No one’s going to believe you,’” said Kimberly Gillespie, prosecutor.
The 53-year-old Santiago was hired in the fall by controversial Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua to replace 41-year-old Tom Sapienza.
Sapienza had been on unpaid leave from the DPW to care for his wife who had terminal cancer.
Sapienza's wife died last week, and now Sapienza's lawyers are filing a reverse race discrimination lawsuit against the city and the mayor.
“We’re part of Mr. Santiago’s case that’s connected to what’s going on with Mr. Sapienza. We did want to at least be here on behalf of Tom,” said Taylor Dauksewicz, Sapienza’s paralegal.
Santiago was fired in 2004 from the Methuen Police Department after he refused to take a course about restraining orders.
“That’s his personal life. And I hope he can move forward and straighten up his life,” said Jackie Marmol, Santiago’s former coworker.
In court, prosecutors cited at least two other restraining orders against Santiago dating back to 2005. He was released by the judge.
Santiago’s family didn’t talk about the latest allegations outside court.
Santiago has been ordered by the judge to stay away from his ex-girlfriend.