By Colleen Long, Associated Press Writer
New York state Sen. Hiram Monserrate was sentenced Friday to probation and domestic abuse counseling for dragging his bleeding girlfriend through his apartment building lobby in a violent scene caught on security cameras.
Monserrate told Justice William Erlbaum he took full responsibility for his actions.
“I am so sorry for the harm Karla Giraldo endured and suffered,” he said.
Monserrate and Giraldo have been under a court order not to see each other. She has been seeking to have the order lifted and said Friday that the two planned to marry, but the judge said he was keeping the protection order in place.
Erlbaum said he would be willing to lift the protection order if the couple could prove that they could address their problems. He also suggested that Giraldo, who attended the sentencing, seek therapy.
“I hope the time will come that Karla Giraldo will have the self-respect to stop acting like a slave,” the judge said.
Erlbaum sentenced Monserrate to three years on probation, a year of counseling, 250 hours of community service and ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine. Monserrate, convicted of a misdemeanor reckless assault count, could have been sentenced to up to a year behind bars.
Monserrate was acquitted of intentionally smashing Giraldo’s face with a glass on Dec. 19, 2008. The wound near her eye required about 40 stitches; both said it was accidental.
Had he been convicted on that count — second-degree felony assault — the freshman Democrat could have lost his Senate seat automatically.
Some lawmakers have called for Monserrate’s resignation.
Erlbaum said the “the Legislature has in its membership a flawed human being,” but cautioned senators not to rush to remove Monserrate from the chamber. The judge did agree to let Senate officials see Giraldo’s secret grand jury testimony.
A spokesman for the Senate committee considering what sanctions, if any, Monserrate should face did not return a call.
Austin Shafran, a spokesman for the Senate president pro tem, said the Senate’s Special Committee of Inquiry was continuing its review.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.