EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 23, 2012

Woman charged with assault released on bail

By Mike LaBella mlabella@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — HAVERHILL — A 20-year-old Haverhill woman who was being held at the women’s prison in Framingham since her arraignment last week on charges she sexually assaulted a 12-year-old boy was released yesterday after her father posted bail.

During a brief hearing in Haverhill District Court, Heather Paltinavich was ordered confined to father’s home in Haverhill, where she will be monitored around the clock through an electronic bracelet. Judge Patricia Dowling also ordered her to remain drug- and alcohol-free, and submit to random drug and alcohol testing as determined by the court.

Paltinavich, 20, stood handcuffed in the dock as Assistant District Attorney John DePaulo asked Dowling if there was a way to ensure she would not have access to alcohol while confined to her father’s home.

There is definitely a substance abuse problem as in both of these incidents she was heavily under the influence of alcohol,” DePaulo said, referring to charges by police that she engaged in sexual activity with the boy on two occasions this summer while drunk.

Dowling said it is up to Paltinavich not to violate the terms of her release.

If she’s surrounded by alcohol she’s not to use it,” Dowling said. “It’s her responsibility and if she’s found to be using drugs or alcohol, she’ll be sent right back to Framingham.”

Paltinavich must appear Nov. 15 for a probable cause hearing.

Following yesterday’s hearing, Michael Paltinavich of Haverhill said that with the help of friends and his daughter’s mother, who was also in the courtroom, he was able to raise the $3,000 to secure his daughter’s release. He said he will ask his daughter to sign a release for her medical records and provide them to her defense lawyer.

I love my daughter, but my love is not blind,” he said. “To me a big part of the case against my daughter is the allegation that she gave the boy a sexually-transmitted disease. If her medical records prove she doesn’t have a disease and wasn’t treated for one, then the rest is just hearsay.”

Paltinavich, 20, was arrested Oct. 15 on a warrant charging her with two counts of statutory rape of a child. According to a police report, Paltinavich sexually assaulted the boy twice this summer in his family’s apartment in Haverhill, and that it was only recently reported to police by the boy’s mother.

At her Oct. 16 arraignment, DePaulo said Paltinavich was living with the boy’s family for six months and was paying to sleep on a couch in the apartment. He said Paltinavich sexually assaulted the boy while she was living with his family. DePaulo said that about a month ago the boy’s mother took her son to the doctor after he was urinating blood and tests showed he had a sexually-transmitted disease.

When the boy’s mother asked her son how he might have gotten the disease, he denied being involved in any sexual relationship. DePaulo said the boy’s mother was so shocked by the test results that she mentioned it to Paltinavich and the next day Paltinavich abruptly moved out of the apartment, raising the suspicions of the boy’s mother.

DePaulo said the boy’s mother contacted police Oct. 9 after finding “inappropriate” Facebook messages between her son and another youth. The mother asked her son about the messages and he broke down in tears, telling her he had sex with Paltinavich after he returned from visiting his father, according to a police report. The boy said they had sex while his mother was sleeping in her bedroom and his brother was sleeping in his room, the report said.

“The victim said that he and the defendant had sex on the couch, she was drunk and that it happened a second time,” DePaulo said.

Police spoke to the boy, who said Paltinavich was his friend, and that he didn’t want her to get in trouble.

Lawyer Gregory Joy, who was appointed to represent Paltinavich at last week’s arraignment, said the boy’s mother was angry that Paltinavich had moved out because it caused the mother to lose a source of income as well as someone to watch her children.

“This is absolute retribution,” Joy said, adding that Paltinavich has nodiseases as the boy’s mother says.