SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 21, 2014

Father held in abuse of baby son

(Continued)

The baby also had what appeared to be a significant diaper rash.

Van Horn was described by police as “confrontational” with officers, and he referred to Manning as a “piece of (expletives).”

Van Horn yesterday pleaded not guilty to charges of assault and battery on a child with injuries and child endangerment.

His attorney, Edward McNaught, said his client denies the allegations. He suggested that there is bad blood between Manning and Van Horn and said Manning “arguably has a motive against my client.”

As for the 3-year-old girl’s account, McNaught questioned that, suggesting that the description of what she said was a “strained turn of phrase” for a young child and not credible.

Instead, he said, the child’s injuries could have come from a fall.

Van Horn’s wife told Barretto that she was at work when she got a call that her son was in the hospital.

“They showed me pictures. There was no doubt in my mind that it was a hand mark. It’s still there. I need to protect myself and my son and my daughter,” she said.

The Department of Children and Families is also looking into the incident, police said.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

Abuse: Defense says injuries could have come from a fall

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