Ward 4 Councillor Jimmy Tri Le made a mad dash for the Malden District Court parking lot following his April 28 hearing on charges of indecent assault and battery filed by a female councillor. Because of the nature of the charges, the female councillor’s name has not been released. The charges stem from an incident on March 11 when Le allegedly slapped the female councillor on the rear end during the St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the Schiavo Club.
“It is incredibly frustrating and sad that in this day and age women still have to justify how assault is not okay,” said the female councillor. “Touching women inappropriately is not a joke; it is not business as usual and it should not be normalized.”
Le has pleaded not guilty.
The incident was reportedly the result of an exchange between the two councillors during the February 28 City Council meeting. During the meeting, Le interrupted his female colleague several times before she finally responded, calling him an obscenity.
“It’s political. It’s all politically motivated,” said Attorney Michael Kelly, counsel for Le.
Although his client is an elected official, Kelly said, Le is under no obligation to make an official statement regarding the allegations.
The judge ordered Le to stay away from the alleged victim. However, where they are both councillors, it is unclear as to how future City Council meetings will be conducted.
Under state law, indecent assault and battery is a felony and is punishable by up to five years in prison. In addition, the City Charter states: “Any councilor who has been finally convicted of a state or federal felony shall be deemed to have vacated their office and shall be disqualified from serving in any other elective or appointive office or position under the city.”
It has also been reported that Le has used his position as an elected official to get discounts on services at local businesses. He is also accused of harassing female employees. In January, Sal’s Custom Dry Cleaners went so far as to issue a No Trespass Order against Le. Throughout the prior year, Le went into the business on several occasions allegedly harassing two young female employees, asking them to go on dates with him; although they reminded him that he is married, allegedly Le would not relent.
Le was first elected to the council in 2019 when he defeated Domenic Puleo. He was reelected in 2021 over challengers Holly Garcia and Benjamin Murray. Le was also nominated to be the council president.