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The Sound of Silence

Profiles in courage are hard to find in the state Senate. Hiram Monserrate was sworn−in as a senator last week despite the fact he is facing a felony assault charge.

Only one senator, Martin Golden, a Brooklyn Republican, tried to block Monserrate’s seating. Golden introduced a resolution calling for Monserrate’s seat to be vacant until his legal issues are resolved. The response was lukewarm.

Monserrate is accused of smashing a glass in his girlfriend’s face. She needed 20 stitches to close the wound. Doctors said if the glass had stuck her an inch lower, she might have lost her eye.

First she told police and doctors that Monserrate had struck her in the heat of an argument. She later changed her story and said it was an accident.

Monserrate has said little more than the arrest was “an unfortunate accident.” State Democrats and Republicans have said less, and that is a problem. While the state Legislature has moments of integrity, it is an old boy’s club, where loyalty and expedience outweigh honor.

If Monserrate can explain why his neighbors reported hearing loud fighting, why he opted to drive past nearby Elmhurst Hospital to go to a hospital on the Queens−Nassau border and why the victim first told the hospital and police that he had struck her in anger, he should do so immediately.

As a city councilman, Monserrate has fought hard for his constituents and is well−liked. We take no pleasure in the prospect of his downfall, but domestic violence is a serious crime. We do not see how he can be allowed to take his seat in the Senate until the cloud that hangs over his head is cleared.

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