EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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May 7, 2014

Judge calls stepfather a 'danger'

No bail for man accused of torturing girls

NORTH ANDOVER - A High Street a man accused of torturing and abusing his stepdaughters over five years will remain jailed without bail at least until his next court appearance next month.

Justin Ladd, 33, was brought into a courtroom at Lawrence District Court for a dangerousness hearing yesterday in a wheelchair and wearing a orange prison jumpsuit and jail-issued jacket.

Judge Lynn Rooney deemed him to be a “danger” and ordered him to remain held without bail pending the court hearing.

Ladd, of 138 High St., is accused of hitting his stepdaughters with a hammer, pulling on their tongues with pliers, threatening to have the girls raped and killed by a motorcycle gang and other abuse, according to court documents.

He was arrested and charged on 21 criminal counts last week including indecent assault and battery on a child under age 14, open and gross lewdness, assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and intimidation of a witness.

His next court appearance is scheduled for June 13, although he may face indictment at the Superior Court level before then. If he is indicted and tried at the superior court level, the potential penalties Ladd will face if convicted are more severe.

The girls Ladd allegedly abused, now ages 14 and 16, are in the custody of the state Department of Children and Families.

During recent interviews with DCF and North Andover police, the two girls reported abuse that occurred from September 2008 to February 2013, according to court documents.

The girls told authorities Ladd would make them exercise excessively, doing pushups and situps for as long as possible. When they exercise became too demanding and they stopped, Ladd hit them with a hammer, according to court papers.

Also, the girls said if they did or said things Ladd didn’t like, he would pull on their tongues with pliers.

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