SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

February 23, 2013

Salem group home worker charged with assault

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — SALEM — A Lynn man is facing charges that he struck and kicked a resident of a Salem group home for mentally challenged adults where he was working last December.

Noah Russell Martin Jr., 49, was charged with two counts each of assault and battery on a disabled person and two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, a shod foot, after the incident on Dec. 9.

On Thursday, Martin and his lawyer tried unsuccessfully to convince a Salem District Court judge to continue the case without a finding for nine months, and then dismiss it.

But when Judge Sabita Singh indicated that she considered the recommendation of prosecutors — a guilty finding, 18 months of supervised probation and an order forbidding him from working with disabled people — appropriate, Martin asked for a trial.

According to police and prosecutors, Martin was working at the group home on Buena Vista Avenue in Salem during lunch hour when one of the residents, a man also in his 40s, decided not to eat his lunch.

Patrolman Tracy O’Leary said in her report that the resident’s refusal to eat “aggravated” Martin. Then the resident flung his plate off the table.

Martin began screaming at the man to clean up the mess, police said. The resident became “frozen with fear” and did not move.

At that point, police say, Martin grabbed the man by his arm and threw him to the floor, then kicked him twice on his backside, before another worker arrived and intervened.

The other worker told Martin to go take a walk. But before Martin left, he turned around and slapped the resident on the back of the head, police said.

The other worker cleaned up the food and tried to calm the resident, who was described as “terribly upset,” though not physically injured.

The group home, owned by Turning Point, a Newburyport-based social service agency, fired Martin and reported the incident to police and to the Massachusetts Disabled Persons Protection Commission. After an investigation, Martin was issued a summons to appear in court.

He’s due back in court March 28 with his attorney to pick a trial date in the case.

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