PEABODY — A Lynn father who managed to regain custody of his young son last year after breaking the boy's jaw, only to face new charges after an alleged assault last month, poses a "mortal danger" to the child, a judge said yesterday.
George Fabrizio, 33, will remain in jail as he awaits trial on charges of assault and battery on a child with serious bodily injury, Peabody District Court Judge Matthew Nestor ruled yesterday.
Police allege that on June 27, during a visit to a friend's Peabody home, Fabrizio slapped his son hard enough to knock the 7-year-old's head against the corner of a cabinet, leaving a deep gash. Fabrizio allegedly refused to take the boy to the hospital and threatened that if anyone else called police, he would simply blame two other young children in the apartment.
The judge also expressed a lack of confidence in the ability of the Department of Children and Families to keep the child safe, suggesting, "What if DCF decides tomorrow to return the child to him?"
The comments came at the end of a hearing where a Peabody woman and her daughter-in-law both testified that they have had grave concerns about the safety of the child almost from the boy's birth, but said that numerous calls to the DCF led to little or nothing being done.
The two women testified about past incidents of abuse that they saw over the course of the boy's life.
Then, in 2009, after a dentist discovered that the child's jaw had been broken (and a later X-ray found an old skull fracture), the child was sent to live with relatives, an aunt and an uncle, for a year, police learned. Fabrizio later admitted to sufficient facts in the case and received a year of probation.
Carol Schacht, whose son is a longtime friend of Fabrizio, said DCF tried to keep the boy with those relatives, but a Lynn Juvenile Court judge returned custody to Fabrizio.
Schacht testified that she saw the boy once or twice a week and that he "wasn't getting fed."
During Thanksgiving dinner last year, she said, Fabrizio made the child sit on a porch outside while her family and Fabrizio ate. She said she and others were afraid to intervene out of concern that he would take it out on the boy later.
"We were trying to sneak food out to him," Schacht testified.
During a birthday party the weekend before the most recent assault, Schacht testified that Fabrizio slapped a hotdog out of the boy's hand and made him spit out the bite he had taken.
"(The boy) started crying," Schacht said. "We tried to console him, and then George told him, 'We've got to go.'"
Her daughter-in-law also told the judge that Fabrizio barely fed the child, who subsisted on cereal, ramen noodles and, sometimes, pizza. When Fabrizio had a woman visiting him at his apartment, in a Lynn public housing complex, he would lock the boy outside, she said.
Schacht said that after the most recent incident — during which Fabrizio had to pull the boy's head off the cabinet because it got stuck — she decided to call police.
Prosecutor Jane Prince, who questioned how Fabrizio could still have custody of the child after the prior abuse, argued that other than locking Fabrizio up, there was no way to protect the boy.
"He needs this court's protection," Prince told the judge. "He's suffered a lifetime of abuse. He's asked for help on multiple occasions, and the commonwealth has failed (him)."
Defense lawyer Christopher Norris acknowledged that his client poses a danger to the child, but suggested the judge could "neutralize" the risk by ordering no contact between the two.
But the judge shared the concerns of the prosecutor, questioning whether a court order, or even an electronic monitoring system, could adequately protect the child. He granted Prince's motion to hold Fabrizio without bail pending trial.
Read more at www.salemnews.com
Fabrizio, who receives Social Security Disability Income for an unspecified disability, lives in a public housing complex on Curwin Circle in Lynn, an apartment he could lose if he no longer has custody of the boy. The boy also receives SSDI benefits, Schacht said.