Town Councilor John C. Mullaney came to the defense of embattled state Rep. Mark Cusack Saturday, calling the 26-year-old legislator "a great kid ... he's young, he made a mistake, and I hope he survives this."
Cusack, a freshman legislator from Braintree, is under investigation by the office of House Speaker Robert DeLeo for an incident that allegedly took place a month ago inside the House chamber after a late-night budget debate session.
Media reports said that Cusack, who was sworn into office less than six months ago, was under investigation for allegedly engaging in inappropriate actions with a female staff member of another lawmaker, when the two were discovered by a court officer in the empty chamber.
Cusack, who has not spoken to the media since the reports surfaced a day ago, could not be reached for comment.
DeLeo's office confirmed Friday that it is investigating an incident that took place inside the House chamber at a time no one is expected to be here.
The speaker's office offered a one-line official statement, saying the House will conduct an internal review of his matter.
Charles B. Ryan, Braintree Council president and councilor at large, and councilor Charles C. Kokoros, Council vice president, declined comment.
Mullaney noted the youth and inexperience of Cusack, under sometimes demanding political conditions, and said, "Becoming a state representative is the beginning of your political life, and there are a lot of inexperienced people who go in there.
"It is a learning experience, and I hope that Mark will learn from this, because he is highly intelligent, his family has done a lot for the town of Braintree and he is a wonderful kid."
Mullaney said he considered running for the state representative's seat that Cusack won and that he spoke with him at candidates' forums and was very impressed.
"Young people sometimes do foolish things, and if he survives this, he will be an excellent legislator," Mullaney said.
A former union president who worked at the federal Internal Revenue Service for 35 years, Mullany said he had represented people accused of violations of standards and rules, and that the "biggest mistake someone can make is not telling the truth."
Some media reports said that Cusack gave the name of another legislator when he was discovered by a court officer in the chamber after hours, Mullaney said.
"If that is true, I am sure Mark will be telling the truth from now on, as the Speaker's office does an investigation," Mullaney said.
"The one rule I tell people in trouble with the IRS is that you should tell the truth at all times. The crime is never as bad as not telling the truth about it."