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BU professor placed on probation after assault charges

Cambridge District Court officials closed proceedings against Boston University professor Pedro Lasarte when he took a plea in his alleged domestic assault case Thursday, officials said. Lasarte will now be placed on an 18-month probationary term.

“He took a plea and the file is no longer actively open,” said Cambridge District Court spokeswoman MaryBeth Long. “He agreed to a continuance without a finding for 18 months.”

A continuance without a finding is a form of probation in which the defendant pleas guilty or there is an admission of sufficient evidence, according to the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries website. At the end of a probationary term, if the defendant abides by the court-set conditions, the case is dismissed. Taking the plea is not akin to pleading guilty.

Arlington Police Department officers arrested Lasarte Feb. 10 at his home on Moulton Road on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and possession of a dangerous weapon, as previously reported by The Daily Free Press.

He was arraigned in Cambridge District Court Feb. 11, Long said.

Per the requirements of a continuance without a finding, Lasarte admitted to violating a restraining order in September 2012 and to violating an abuse prevention order in October 2012 by calling a woman numerous times. He also admitted to sufficient evidence regarding the alleged assault on Feb. 10.

“The conditions of [Lasarte’s] continuance include no alcohol, random drug screens, surrendering his passport and drug and alcohol evaluations, and the defendant must attend [Alcoholics Anonymous],” Long said.

Lasarte, a 65-year-old Spanish professor in the Department of Romance Studies, has not been teaching and has been placed on a “no-pay” status since Feb. 13, said BU spokesman Colin Riley.

“Prof. Lasarte is not teaching, pending our review of the matter,” Riley said in an email.

Arlington Police officers received a distress call Feb. 10 by a woman accusing Lasarte of starting a confrontation with her, scraping her with his keys and “thumping” her ribs with brass knuckles. Police on the scene said there were visible scratch marks on the woman’s upper arm that appeared to be caused by keys.

Police on the scene also reportedly said Lasarte originally denied all allegations of domestic abuse, and was belligerent and did not cooperate with them.

The woman told police Lasarte said he knew where to strike her with the brass knuckles so no mark would be left.

She said the dispute started after Lasarte got angry because she was doing the dishes in the middle of the day, as opposed to allowing him to do them at night.

Just prior to the arrest, Lasarte said the argument ensued after he asked the woman about credit card charges exceeding $3,000.

Lasarte reportedly said he has had the brass knuckles since he moved to the U.S. from Peru 30 years ago and did not know they were illegal in Massachusetts.

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