EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 11, 2012

Grand jury indicts couple in child abuse case

By Alex Lippa

---- — PLAISTOW — A Rockingham County grand jury has indicted a couple accused of abusing a 3-year old boy.

Roland Dow, 27, faces a first-degree assault charge and two charges of second-degree assault. Each of the charges 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. Those charges each come with a potential one-year jail sentence and up to a $1,000 fine.

The boy’s mother, Jessica Linscott, 23, was charged with six misdemeanor charges for endangering the welfare of a child.

Dow caused a traumatic brain injury to Linscott’s son, James Nicholson, according to the indictments. Dow is accused of burning the little boy’s wrist and fingers and hitting him. Linscott is charged because she failed to get medical care for her son, according to the indictments.

Dow and Linscott both pleaded not guilty at their arraignments last week. They are being held in the county jail on high bail, Dow on $500,000 and $100,000 for Linscott.

The first-degree assault charge Dow faces is for hitting James in the head with his hand, causing a brain injury resulting in temporary blindness. The boy also suffered seizures and other symptoms, according to the indictment.

On Monday, the State Police Major Crime Unit was at Dow and Linscott’s home on Main Street. Rockingham County Attorney James Reams would not give specifics on the search yesterday, but said it was common practice.

“We reached out to them for assistance because they have different resources than the local police,” he said.

Linscott and Dow are accused of abandoning James at Exeter Hospital on Nov. 16. The couple then went on the run for two weeks before being arrested at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla. The couple hid out in Haverhill before traveling to Boston. From there, they took a bus to New York and then a train to Florida.

Both waived extradition and were returned to New Hampshire.

James was transferred to Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth in Lebanon due to the serious nature of his injuries. He was released from the hospital after nearly three weeks of treatment and is now staying with relatives.

Plaistow police have been collecting toys for James. Deputy police Chief Kathleen Jones said yesterday the toys have filled up almost an entire room in the station.

“People are still being very generous,” Jones said. “We will let the family come in and pick them up, and let them decide what they want to do with all of them.”