Bail denied for dad in abuse case
Judge urges DA to pursue indictment against man accused of assaulting son
By Julie Manganis
PEABODY — A Salem Superior Court judge yesterday not only denied an appeal for bail but took the unusual step of recommending that the district attorney seek an indictment against a Lynn father accused of repeatedly abusing his son.
Judge John Lu also said "it's quite apparent to me" that the state Department of Children and Families has, for various reasons, been unable to keep the 7-year-old son of George Fabrizio safe from his father.
Fabrizio, 33, has been held without bail since his arrest on charges that he struck his son hard enough to knock the boy's head into the corner of a cabinet while the two were visiting a Peabody home on June 27.
The impact caused a deep gash in the boy's head, which had to be pulled off the corner, but Fabrizio allegedly refused to take the boy to a hospital for stitches. Hours later, a family friend called police to report the incident.
Fabrizio has pleaded not guilty to a charge of assault and battery on a child causing substantial bodily injury.
Yesterday, he and his attorney, John Ruehrwein, appealed last month's finding by Peabody District Court Judge Matthew Nestor that Fabrizio poses a "mortal danger" to the child if released under any conditions.
Lu, after hearing from both Ruehrwein and prosecutor Meg Morrissey, and reviewing a stack of police and DCF reports, concluded that Nestor's decision was correct and that the only way to protect the boy is to keep his father in custody without bail.
The judge agreed with his District Court counterpart that there are no conditions that could ensure the boy's safety and said he was concerned about a history of "severe physical abuse," including a prior broken jaw and a skull fracture.
Then, Lu went on to publicly recommend that prosecutors pursue a grand jury indictment in the case, saying "it may be more appropriate for this case to be heard in the Superior Court."
A trial in Superior Court would open up the potential for prosecutors to seek state prison time for Fabrizio.
The recommendation is just that; judges have no authority to order a prosecutor to present the case to a grand jury.
Carrie Kimball-Monahan, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett, said she cannot comment on a pending case but added, "We take all of these cases seriously. We review every one very carefully and make a decision."
Fabrizio had recently completed a year of probation after an earlier incident involving his son's jaw fracture, an injury discovered during a trip to the dentist in August 2009. The case was continued without a finding until this past February, then dismissed.
According to a Lynn police report, staff members at Lynn Dental Health filed a report with the DCF after the boy showed up with his father to have loose baby teeth removed.
ant his teeth removed, and the two left, but as they did, a dental assistant and a hygienist
The boy initially did not want his teeth removed, and the two left, but as they did, a dental assistant and a hygienist noticed Fabrizio grab the back of his son's neck and push him forward roughly. A short time later, they returned and asked that the boy's teeth be taken out.
While his father was in a waiting room, the boy told staff that his father would be angry with him, said his father had struck him in the past, and that he was afraid and wanted help.
Police also noted red marks on the boy's neck and stomach, as well as a bruise on his arm.
Fabrizio, who is being held at Middleton Jail, is due back in Peabody District Court on Monday for a probable cause hearing in his case.
During a hearing last month, the woman who reported the incident to police said that in addition to the physical abuse, Fabrizio would feed the child little besides ramen noodles and that he'd slapped a hot dog out of the boy's hand during a recent cookout.
He was a regular visitor to the Peabody home where the most recent incident occurred.
Fabrizio's attorney said yesterday that his client, who has a vocational high school diploma in auto body repair, receives Social Security benefits for a back injury he suffered at 20 and does not work.
The boy was living with his father back at the federally subsidized Curwin Circle apartment complex in Lynn for months prior to Fabrizio's June arrest.
Proceedings in juvenile court cases are not public, and details of that judge's decision have not been available.
The boy lived with an aunt and uncle for a year after that, but was subsequently returned to the custody of his father, who had taken a parenting class, by a Lynn Juvenile Court judge, apparently over the objection of DCF workers, police were told.
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Investigators also came to learn that the boy's jaw had been broken and that he had suffered a skull fracture at some point in the past — a fracture blamed on a fall.