EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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October 19, 2013

Social worker: Boyfriend said he hurt baby

Report says mom, boyfriend cooperated with investigation as concerned caretakers

LAWRENCE — Amy Silverio, of the state’s Department of Children and Families, testified yesterday that Steve Amos told her he “always tried to be safe with” his girlfriend Heather Dragotta’s 5 1/2 week old daughter Autumn. Yet, Amos might have caused the fractures and brain hemorrhage that sent her to Lawrence General Hospital in June 2010.

“He said when she was first born, he treated her like a piece of crystal but then later thought she was more flexible than he originally believed,” Silverio said.

Silverio, who interviewed both Dragotta and Amos after the baby girl ended up in emergency room, was the first prosecution witness yesterday in the opening day of Dragotta and Amos’ infant abuse trial In Lawrence Superior Court. Judge Richard Welch will hear the case and render the verdicts.

Three years ago, the pair were arraigned on multiple charges of assault and battery on a child resulting in injury and permitting injury to a child. Dragotta, 33, and Amos, 34, are accused of harming Autumn in Dragotta’s North Andover home.

On June 3, 2010, Dragotta and Amos brought Autumn to LGH after she was fussy all day. She was later transferred to Children’s Hospital in Boston where doctors diagnosed multiple rib fractures and a brain hemorrhage they believed were consistent with violent shaking and inflicted abuse. Authorities immediately got involved.

Dragotta has said the infant’s injuries were caused by copper and Vitamin D deficiencies, a condition known as infantile rickets.

Silverio testified that she interviewed both Dragotta and Amos separately on June 4, 2010.

Silverio said Dragotta told her that Autumn was a normal, healthy baby. A few weeks after giving birth to her she noticed her daughter was suffering from gas. She went to her pediatrician to find remedies to solve the problem. He taught her a “bicycle technique” where she would gently move Autumn’s legs as if they were riding a bike, Silverio said.

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