You just know you've witnessed something historic when you see the cops dragging a handcuffed politician into the Statehouse.
Usually, it is the other way around, and the politician is being dragged out.
But not only did the cops hustle handcuffed state Rep. Carlos Henriquez out of his cell at the Middlesex County House of Correction in Billerica to appear before a legislative committee on Beacon Hill, they did it twice in five days, the second time on Tuesday.
Henriquez, 37, a Dorchester Democrat, is serving a six-month sentence after being found guilty Jan. 15 of two misdemeanor assault counts. He was convicted of holding down a woman and punching her when she refused to have sex with him. A second-term member of the House, Henriquez has maintained his innocence and appealed his case.
Meanwhile, he has ignored repeated calls that he resign from the House by Gov. Deval Patrick, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, as well as others.
However, a resignation at this point -- pending his appeal -- would be tantamount to pleading guilty. In addition, he would be forced to give up his $60,032 annual salary, part of which, you can expect, will be going to pay for his lawyer
Henriquez was twice summoned from his cell to appear before the House Ethics Committee to explain why he should not be thrown out of the House for his transgressions.
On both occasions, he was made to conduct what amounted to a "perp" walk to the hearing room in front of reporters and television cameras, and was peppered with questions, which he ignored. That public "perp" walk represents twice the amount of exposure that suspected Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been subjected to, and Henriquez has not been charged with killing anybody.
While Henriquez was convicted in open court after a six-day public trial, his two appearances before the committee took place behind closed doors, with the press and the public barred from attending. So much for legislative transparency.
Even though the committee hearings were confidential, the committee will shortly rule on whether Henriquez should be reprimanded, censured or thrown out of the House. If the committee recommends expulsion, the matter will be taken up and voted on by the full 160-member House.
Some have argued that Henriquez has already been punished enough, even though the lawmaker is now a lawbreaker. Not only has he been unable to attend sessions of the House, he was deprived of witnessing Gov. Deval Patrick's annual State of the State speech the other night -- although others might argue that was a blessing.
Still, if he could be let out of jail to appear before a legislative committee, why couldn't he be let out to vote on bills before the House?
The problem for Speaker DeLeo and the House is that the Henriquez situation deals with off-campus sex, so to speak, and not Statehouse politics, or even Statehouse sex. Henriquez was not accused of taking a bribe, for instance, or even getting someone a job at the Probation Department. Nor was he caught having sex with a staffer at the Statehouse, which is known to have happened with others in the past.
He was not charged with political corruption. No, his problem stemmed from the fact that he could not take "no" for an answer when his female companion said no.
Sexual situations involving legislators are not new. Not too long ago, a state senator was forced to resign after he was indicted for accosting several women in downtown Lowell.
And then a young state representative was caught having sex with a female staffer on the rostrum of the darkened House chamber by a court officer following a late-night session of the budget and a party that followed.
Speaker DeLeo had the matter investigated and ruled no harm, no foul.
The legislator was subsequently re-elected and the staffer, who left her Statehouse job, later ran for the House and was elected as well.
Perhaps in the interest of separating sex and politics, if possible, is the suggestion that the Legislature create a new committee to deal exclusively with sexual situations. After all, hardly does a day go by that the Legislature is not faced with issues dealing with sex, and they range from sexual harassment to transgendered bathrooms, let alone sex in the House chamber at night.
It could be called the House Committee on Sex & the Statehouse.
Unlike the closed House Committee on Ethics, though, the House Committee on Sex & the Statehouse would have to hold open hearings. The press and the public would demand it.
Peter Lucas' political column appears Tuesday and Friday. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.