EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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October 25, 2013

Accused baby abusers found guilty

Mom, boyfriend injured her 5-week-old daughter

LAWRENCE — Steve Amos and Heather Dragotta were both found guilty yesterday of the abuse of a 51/2-week-old infant, Dragotta’s daughter Autumn.

Superior Court Judge Richard Welch found Amos, 34, guilty on all charges, including multiple offenses of assault and battery on a child and permitting injury to a child.

Dragotta, 33, was found guilty of permitting injury to a child — a brain hemorrhage, according to information provided by District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office.

Amos was taken into custody and Dragotta freed pending Nov. 5 sentencing by Welch.

Each child abuse charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in state prison or 21/2 years in county jail, according to Massachusetts General Laws.

The abuse occurred while the pair lived together in North Andover.

The trial, which opened a week ago, included testimony from Amy Silverio, a social worker with the state Department of Children and Families, who interviewed the pair after the baby was diagnosed with 21 fractures and the brain hemorrhage on June 3, 2010.

Dr. Paul Kleinman, a pediatric radiologist and child abuse expert from Children’s Hospital in Boston, also testified earlier this week they infant’s fractures were “inflicted.”

Silverio said Dragotta and Amos both told her they used the “bicycle technique,” where they rotated the baby’s legs, to help her relieve gas.

During her testimony, Silverio said that during her interview with Amos, he said he thought his technique resulted in the baby’s broken ribs.

Dragotta said she asked Amos to stop performing his technique when she watched Autumn turn red and cry after it was done, Silverio said.

Silverio testified earlier that Amos told her that when Autumn was first born “he treated her like a piece of crystal but then later thought she was more flexible than he originally believed.”

Defense attorneys for Dragotta and Amos requested the case be “jury waived” meaning Welch would hear the case and render verdicts.

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