AMESBURY — A local woman ordered to have no contact with the two daughters she is accused of beating over a period of several years narrowly avoided being thrown in jail Tuesday after an Essex County prosecutor told a Newburyport District Court judge she left a voice message with one of them.
Seriyah Clark, 35, of Haverhill Road was arrested March 31 on two warrants on charges of assault and battery of a family/household member and brought to District Court the next morning for arraignment.
The following Monday, Judge Jane Prince deemed Clark dangerous to her daughters and the public but ruled there were conditions of release the court could impose that would ensure their safety.
Those conditions included requiring Clark to wear a GPS monitoring device, abide by a curfew of 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., and to have no contact with her daughters.
But over the weekend, according to Essex County prosecutor Shailagh Kennedy, Clark left a two-minute voice mail on one of the victim’s phone. That prompted Kennedy to ask District Court Judge Peter Doyle on Tuesday to issue an arrest warrant for Clark for violating conditions of her release.
Doyle issued the arrest warrant but within an hour, Clark appeared at the courthouse on her own.
Pressing forward with her goal of putting Clark in jail while awaiting trial, Kennedy acknowledged the voice mail message did not include a direct message to the victim. It did contain phrases Clark made to a third party that violated conditions of her release, according to Kennedy.
Clark vehemently denied intentionally leaving a message for her daughter.
“I did not mean to call her,” Clark said. “I have been compliant, I have not reached out to them.”
Daniel Hutchinson, Clark’s attorney, told Doyle that as soon as his client realized she had called her daughter by accident, she immediately called another attorney she hired.
“This was an accidental phone call, that’s all it was,” Hutchinson said.
Kennedy disputed the nature of the call, saying it fit with Clark’s pattern of behavior toward her children. Kennedy said the phone message upset the alleged victim.
“She was panic stricken,” Kennedy said, adding that Clark had given up custody of the two teens who now live with foster parents.
Doyle denied Kennedy’s motion to revoke Clark’s release but gave the mother a sternly worded message: Any future reports of texts, voice messages or phone calls, accidental or not, and she would not get off so lightly.
“If there’s contact, you’ll be held,” Doyle said.
At Clark’s arraignment on April 1, Essex County prosecutor Michelle Belmonte filed a motion to have Clark held without bail while awaiting trial. In defense of her motion, Belmonte spent roughly seven minutes detailing multiple instances over several years when Clark allegedly beat her teenaged daughters with belts and broomsticks.
One girl told Amesbury police her mother would hit her in the head so often that she would stop feeling the blows because her head would become numb. Belmonte also said Clark told the girl she would be “6 feet under” if she called the police.
The other daughter said Clark once hit her in the face so hard her jaw became dislodged.
During another alleged incident, Clark tried to strangle her to the point where her neck became red and swollen, and she was unable to breathe.
The mother also threatened to kill one daughter if she reported her to police or the state Department of Children and Families, according to Belmonte.
One of the girls also told police that Clark stabbed a boyfriend with a knife and made her help clean up the blood on the floor, Belmonte added.
One daughter eventually reported the alleged abuse to Amesbury police Detective Steven Reed, who investigated, according to Belmonte.
Clark is due back in court May 10 for a pretrial hearing.