SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

October 17, 2013

Salem man gets probation in beating of girlfriend, dog

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — SALEM — A Salem man will spend the next two years on probation after admitting yesterday that he beat his girlfriend and kicked her dog after she accidentally woke him up one afternoon last month.

Jorge L. Rivera, 22, pleaded guilty to charges that include assault and battery, larceny, threats and cruelty to animals during a hearing yesterday in Salem District Court.

Judge Matthew Nestor imposed two years of probation, during which Rivera will be required to take part in a domestic abuse treatment program, submit to random drug and alcohol testing, and wear a GPS ankle bracelet that will alert officials if he goes anywhere near his now-former girlfriend’s home on First Street.

That’s where police were called on the afternoon of Sept. 7, prosecutor Patrick Collins said.

The woman and her mother told police that Rivera, who had been staying with them, was napping when his girlfriend turned on some music, which woke him up. Rivera was enraged and grabbed the woman, putting his arm around her throat.

The mother went to check on them when she heard noises, but Rivera blamed his girlfriend and the mother left. Rivera, said the prosecutor, resumed his assault, putting his arm around the woman’s throat until she couldn’t breathe. He also told the woman that if he killed her, he could disappear and no one would find him.

The woman bit him on the shoulder and Rivera fled, grabbing a bottle of her medication on the way, the prosecutor said.

Shortly after that, he called, telling her to meet him outside so he could return the bottle, she told police. She went out with her dog and was attacked again, dragged into a nearby wooded area, and punched and slammed to the ground repeatedly, said Collins. Rivera also tried to rip out the woman’s hair extensions, claiming he had paid for them and wanted them back.

When the woman’s dog began to bark, Rivera kicked the animal.

“This is a severe beating, a vicious beating,” said Collins, the prosecutor.

Thomas Pierce, who represented Rivera, said his client had no significant prior record and urged the judge to continue the case without a finding, to “give Mr. Rivera a chance to turn his life around.”

The 38 days he’s been held, after being deemed a danger to the woman, has been a wake-up call for Rivera, said his lawyer.

But when Nestor suggested that the only disposition he would consider involved a guilty finding and probation, Rivera agreed to accept that.

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