Deval Patrick’s Brother-in-Law Bernard Sigh Was Arrested for Sexual Assault

Again accused of rape, Sigh was at the center of a controversy when Patrick was governor.

Former Gov. Deval Patrick speaks at a lecturn

Photo via AP/Charles Krupa

Deval Patrick’s brother-in-law Bernard Sigh appeared in court Thursday after new accusations of sexual assault.

Sigh, 65, faces charges of assault with intent to rape and assault and battery on a household/family member after an alleged assault in Milton on Saturday. The victim told police Sigh raped her after hiding in a closet, and prevented her from escaping. WCVB reports Sigh allegedly placed his hand over her mouth and said, “If you don’t shut up this will be a lot worse.” The woman, who has not been named, reported the incident to police the following morning.

A judge on Thursday ordered him held for 120 days at a dangerousness hearing in Quincy on Thursday, according to the Boston HeraldHe may soon face new charges, including for rape, the Herald reports.

This isn’t Sigh’s first time in the news. In 1993, he pleaded guilty of spousal rape in a case involving his wife, who is Patrick’s sister. Controversy that followed the case during Patrick’s run for governor intensified in 2014 after a lawsuit over Patrick’s decision to fire the head of the Sex Offender Registry Board, Saundra Edwards. Edwards accused Patrick of retaliating against her efforts to get Sigh to register as a sex offender. Patrick has said he believed Edwards sought to influence the case “inappropriately.” A wrongful termination lawsuit filed by Edwards is pending.

This latest case has also spurred some new prognosticating about how Sigh’s alleged violence could impact Patrick’s political career. It doesn’t look good, according to the Boston Herald‘s reporting on political observers’ opinions today. One, the attorney Wendy Murphy, has provocatively said Sigh would be Patrick’s “Willie Horton,” should Patrick decide to run in 2020. Which is of course still a far-off consideration. But Democrats did think highly enough of Patrick to send him to Alabama in the final days of the special Senate election, alongside big-name Dems like Cory Booker, to corral votes for the Doug Jones campaign. As it happens, the latest Sigh allegations emerged as Patrick was campaigning in Alabama. Per the Globe, he has not commented publicly about them.

This post has been updated.