EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire archives

January 30, 2008

Father found guilty of abusing son seeks visitation rights

BRENTWOOD - A jailed Windham father convicted of breaking the ribs and back of his 7-month-old son is fighting for visitation rights with his two children.

Gurrie Fandozzi, 41, has filed a petition in Derry Family Court to maintain contact with his children. But a similar request he made earlier in Superior Court could prompt the judge in his criminal case to step in. Judge Tina Nadeau could decide if Fandozzi first needs to undergo mental health and anger management evaluations.

A jury found Fandozzi guilty on Nov. 19 of breaking six of his son's ribs and sacral vertebrae in the spring and summer of 2006. He was found not guilty of charges that he broke 19 other bones.

Since 2006, child protection workers have allowed the Connecticut lawyer and stay-at-home father to have supervised visits with his abused son, who is now almost 2, and his 4-year-old daughter.

The Division of Children, Youth and Families plans to drop its oversight of the case because Fandozzi has been convicted, causing the visitation issue to fall into legal limbo, according to defense lawyer Steven Shadallah.

Shadallah is now awaiting a decision from the Family Court on a follow-up request to outline conditions under which Fandozzi could see his children.

But the filing in Family Court doesn't bar Nadeau from ruling on Shadallah's original request in Superior Court. And prosecutors would like to see more restrictions on Fandozzi, pending an evaluation.

Assistant County Attorney Patricia Conway wrote in court papers that Fandozzi should undergo mental health and anger management evaluations before any visitations are allowed. She believes Fandozzi needs to be evaluated to see if he is a danger to his children.

But Shadallah argued in court papers that Fandozzi has seen his children for more than a year without incident. A parent aide appointed by the Family Court monitored the visits.

Nadeau could hold a hearing on the matter, issue a ruling, or leave the matter for Family Court to decide. Family Court matters are typically sealed to the public. Arguments about the visitation issue were filed in Fandozzi's criminal court case.

Fandozzi is being held without bail at the Rockingham County jail. He is scheduled to be sentenced in Rockingham County Superior Court on March 7. Each count of first-degree assault is punishable by 10 to 30 years in state prison.

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