In New Bedford, Massachusetts, Brian James, 34, is being held without bail for allegedly biting off the ear and lip of a 3-year-old girl. The child is the daughter of his girlfriend, Jessica Silveria, 26, who is also being held without bail. Arrest warrants had been issued for the couple.
James is charged with assault and battery upon a child causing substantial bodily injuries. Under the General Laws of Massachusetts, Chapter 265, Crimes Against the Person. Section 13J “Assault and battery upon a child; penalties” offers the following definitions:
Bodily injury: “substantial impairment of the physical condition including any burn, fracture of any bone, subdural hematoma, injury to any internal organ, any injury which occurs as the result of repeated harm to any bodily function or organ including human skin or any physical condition which substantially imperils a child’s health or welfare.”
Child: any person younger than 14 years of age
Substantial bodily injury: “bodily injury which creates a permanent disfigurement, protracted loss or impairment of a function of a body member, limb or organ, or substantial risk of death.”
Punishment for conviction of this crime is up to five years in state prison or no more than 2.5 years in the house of correction.
James has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Silveria is charged with intimidation of a witness and permitting substantial injuries to a child under 14 years of age.
According to police, the face of Silveria’s little girl was so mutilated that doctors will not be able to completely repair the damage. Part of her upper lip is now gone, and her ear cannot be made whole again. She also had bite wounds on her face and on other areas of her body.
James and Silveria are scheduled to appear in court next week for a dangerousness hearing. A dangerousness hearing can be called by the Assistant District Attorney. This allows the Assistant D.A. to hold the defendant in pre-trial detention with no bail. In order to prove dangerousness, there has to be “clear and convincing” evidence that letting the defendant go could be dangerous for the victim or other members of the community.
Officials at Children’s Hospital in Boston think that the bite attacks started in January and went on until at least April. However, Lori James, James’ aunt, claims that her nephew did not bite the girl’s lip and that the 3-year-old had told her that her tooth went through her lip when she fell in the tub. Lori James says that James has never abused any children.
Mass. Man Charged With Savagely Biting Little Girl, Keyetv.com, July 5, 2007
Police Arrest Man Accused Of Biting 3-Year-Old, Yahoo.com, July 4, 2007
Domestic Violence Brochure, Mass.gov
Crimes, Punishments, and Proceedings in Criminal Cases, The General Laws of Massachusetts
If you are arrested for assault and battery, you are entitled to qualified legal representation from a good defense lawyer. Your criminal defense attorney can protect your legal and civil rights, guide you through the process, investigate the charges against you, and defend you during a criminal trial.
Altman & Altman LLP has successfully defended many clients with violent crimes cases in the Boston metro area, including the Massachusetts cities New Bedford, Cambridge, Brookline, Somerville, and Allston. For a fee consultation with one of our criminal defense lawyers, contact us-toll-free at (877) 721-4732. You can also call us at (617) 206-1942.