NECN INVESTIGATES: Disgraced Former Massachusetts Senator James Marzilli Back in Court

A disgraced former Massachusetts state senator accused of violating his probation faced a judge Friday.

James Marzilli, who sexually harassed four women, was volunteering at a school in Burma. That school banned him for inappropriate conduct.

Critics wonder why someone convicted of a sexual-related crime would be allowed to volunteer at a school overseas in the first place - but Friday's hearing was more focused on where Marzilli was than what he may have been doing.

Leaving Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn, Marzilli had no comment on the accusations that he was drunk, belligerent and making students uncomfortable.

Probation alleges Marzilli failed to get permission to leave Burma and travel to Thailand for nearly two weeks in April. But Marzilli's attorney says he didn't have to.

"It specifically mentions to inform probation of his travel," probation officer Ross Ickles said in court. "His travel plans and residency in Burma - it doesn't say anything about going anywhere else."

Defense attorney Leslie Feldman-Rumpler pointed to the conditions Judge Kathe Tuttman set when she allowed him to go to Burma earlier this year.
Among other things, she ordered he tell Probation where he'd be staying in Burma and provide his travel details.

Feldman-Rumpler says he satisfied this condition by sending her an email, which she forwarded to his probation officer, saying he may need to go to Thailand for a medical condition.

Ickes did say he received the email, but apparently did not respond or give permission.

This hearing addressed only his travel to Thailand. Neither Marzilli's probation officer nor the assistant district attorney addressed issues necn exposed in a story last month.

"We are a little bit afraid of him too, so we try to avoid - especially the girls, we ask them to avoid him," said program director Nang Haeo Hseng of Kaw Dai Organization, where Marzilli was volunteering.

Hseng told necn that not only was Marzilli banned for inappropriate conduct - like talking to female students about prostitution - but because she claims he forged an email from her inviting him to come to the school for a nine-month visit when she only invited him for three months.

Necn asked Marzilli's attorney if the email was fake.

"Your stories are fake and the photographs you put behind them are fake," Feldman-Rumpler responded.

Probation has not told necn whether or not they investigated the school's claims or if they knew where Marzilli was staying after he left the school.

Marzilli's lawyer filed a motion to have the Probation surrender notice dismissed. The judge is considering the arguments and could make a ruling early next month. If he does not dismiss it, he could eventually extend Marzilli's length of probation. He could also add more conditions or send Marzilli back to jail.

Contact Us