EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 22, 2013

Plaistow child abuse suspects waive arraignment

Plaistow couple charged in child abuse case face new charges

By Doug Ireland
direland@eagletribune.com

---- — BRENTWOOD — A Plaistow couple charged in the severe beating of a 3-year-old waived their arraignment on new charges yesterday.

Jessica Dow, 23, and Roland Dow, 27, were to appear in Rockingham Superior Court to answer to witness tampering and wiretapping charges recently filed against the couple.

They were arrested at Universal Studios in Florida last fall following a two-week manhunt. Linscott is charged with failing to protect her son, James, from abuse by Dow, her boyfriend.

Prosecutors recently announced they would face new charges for allegedly manipulating the boy and secretly recording a home visit by a representative from the state Division of Children, Youth and Families. They were indicted on those charges by a grand jury two weeks ago.

Pretrial conferences in the couple’s case are not scheduled until later this spring, April 17 for Dow and May 23 for Linscott, according to a court clerk. Dow is to go on trial April 29 while Linscott faces trial June 3.

Rockingham County Attorney James Reams said yesterday he could not discuss details of the case when asked if plea bargains could be negotiated with the couple.

“We are almost always willing to discuss resolutions of any and all cases,” he said.

The couple, now both in jail, are accused of telling the boy what he should say before he was interviewed Oct. 23 by the DCYF worker.

Prosecutor Michael Zaino has said the couple coached the boy for at least 20 minutes, telling him what he should and should not tell the DCYF worker. The conversation focused on what to say about getting bloody noses and whether he was spanked, Zaino said.

Dow, 27, faces up to 95 years in prison if convicted of hitting the little boy and burning his wrist and fingers. The boy suffered a severe head injury that led to seizures and temporary blindness. He was transferred to Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth in Lebanon and hospitalized for three weeks.

The abuse case made national news in November after Linscott and Dow dropped the injured boy off at Exeter Hospital. The couple agreed to surrender to police, but hid in Haverhill. Then, they went to Boston, took a bus to New York and a train to Florida.

Linscott also faces six misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Each charge is punishable by up to a year in jail.

Dow faces a first-degree assault charge and two charges of second-degree assault. Each charge carries a potential 30-year prison sentence and the possibility of a fine up to $4,000.

Dow also faces five charges for endangering the welfare of a child. Each charge comes with a one-year maximum sentence and up to a $1,000 fine.