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‘Depraved and sadistic’ man gets 67 years for abuse of 3-year-old boy

The toddler’s mom wasn’t much help.
The toddler’s mom wasn’t much help.
Orange County Department of Corrections

Roland Dow, 28, of Plaistow, New Hampshire, was sentenced in Rockingham County Superior Court on August 14 to a maximum 67 years behind bars after pleading guilty to inflicting horrific and extensive abuse on his girlfriend’s three-year-old son, James Nicholson. The accusations of abuse against Dow included assault on young James, failure to seek medical help for the child, and coaching the little boy to lie to a social worker. Dow was convicted on a total of 11 charges, but acquitted on charges that he burned the child, according to Fox News.

The child’s mother, Jessica Linscott, had previously “pleaded guilty to child endangerment and witness tampering and is serving two to seven years in prison.” In 2012, prior to Dow and Linscott’s arrests, the couple took James to a hospital and simply left him there.

The little boy was suffering from burns on his arm and hand, bruises across his entire body and a brain injury. After leaving the badly battered toddler at the hospital, Dow and Linscott lit out to Universal Orlando Resort in Florida where they were arrested in November 2012. The couple had been on the run for two weeks before officials caught up with them.

Prosecutor Patricia Conway said that Dow battered James, “tied him to a bed and subjected him to ‘torture sessions’ in the bathroom.” Conway said that for whatever reason, Dow hated the child, and inflicted a “reign of terror against this 3-year-old little toddler." At Dow’s sentencing, Judge Marguerite Wageling characterized Dow’s punishments against the little boy as “deliberate, depraved and sadistic,” adding that his girlfriend’s little boy was "dragged into hell."

"James was treated like a caged animal, and putting that up against the apparent wonderful behavior he knew how to provide to a child makes it even more sick," Wageling said. "He then flew out of the area and engaged in happy-go-lucky entertainment while James lay in a hospital bed having holes drilled in his skull to relieve the pressure of the injuries he sustained." ~ The Huffington Post

Dow’s lawyer had argued that his client was "sorry James was injured and hurt" and attempted to pin the blame for most of the child’s abuse and injuries on Linscott. The attorney said that the mom was “a longtime liar who blamed her ex-boyfriend for crimes she could have committed herself.” During trial Linscott said that she did spank James and took part in “other harsh punishments,” but testified that “Dow abused her and treated her son "’worse than a dog you don't want.’"

No longer a toddler, James is now five-years-old, living with his grandmother and "doing great" physically - even with a shunt in his head left over from his time with Dow. The little guy visits his mother in jail, but is emotionally scarred from Dow’s abuse, asking “Why did Roland hurt me all the time?"

James’ great-grandmother reassured the child that Dow is locked away and will remain in jail for a very long time. "The look of relief that came over that child's face? It was almost like when someone wins the lottery," she said. Although Dow’s maximum sentence is 67 years, the minimal amount of time he could spend locked away is only 25 years.