A criminal defense lawyer running for Philadelphia district attorney took to his campaign website to provide an explanation for a 2013 incident that he says people “will not let” go away – a woman found dead in the bathtub of his home.
Charles Peruto Jr. dedicated a portion of his campaign website to a section the title: “The Girl in my Bathtub.” The prominent attorney is running to unseat current District Attorney Larry Krasner.
The ominously titled section begins with Peruto writing that “because some people will not let this go away, I must address it.”
“When November elections come up every year, it is inevitable that we all say to each other, ‘Are these the best two people we can get in this race? Many times, the reason for that is because qualified people won’t get into politics because silly things in their background will come up, that they have no control over, and they don’t want to deal with it,” he writes. “I fully realize that when you run for an office as high as that of District Attorney, you will be examined with a magnifying glass and even a microscope. It is what it is.”
Peruto wrote that he had been dating a woman for about a month and a half in 2013 and “didn’t really know her” when she was found in the bathtub at his home while he was out of town.
He cited the medical examiner’s report in explaining that the woman’s blood-alcohol concentration was 0.45.
“The cause of death was alcohol intoxication, but because she was found in my tub, everyone, including myself, assumed she drowned,” he wrote. “So many empty vodka bottles were found, it looked like there was a party in my house, but inspection of the security video of people entering and leaving showed only her.”
He said he learned of her death the morning after and his cell phone “pings” show he was in Avalon, N.J. at the time, he noted.
“The evening before, I was actually texting with her which the pings corroborated as well. I was with several people who all gave statements or testified,” he wrote. “When I got to Philadelphia, I gave a full and complete statement to homicide detectives, and voluntarily surrendered my telephone so that they can perform what is called a ‘phone dump’. This means they can extract anything from the phone including that which was erased.”
He said he was not the woman’s boyfriend, “but it was my apartment where she expired,” and attribute the publicity that the case got to a “bitter enemy,” who was the district attorney at the time.
The woman was identified by the Philadelphia Daily News in 2013 as a paralegal named Julia Papazian Law, who was just a day away from her 27th birthday. She and Peruto had reportedly been dating for under two months.
Peruto said he was subpoenaed and testified before the grand jury, at which point he was cleared.
“This is my complete explanation for the darkest moment of my life,” he wrote.