SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

February 26, 2013

Father admits hurting infant

23-year-old gets 3-4 years in prison, blames PTSD from Iraq war service

(Continued)

More than a year and a half later, the baby has made far greater progress than anyone originally expected, MacDougall said, but is expected to suffer some degree of permanent damage to her vision.

Defense lawyer John Apruzzese, in a sentencing memorandum, included information about the baby’s condition now, including mild motor delays but no seizures for the past year.

Elias, meanwhile, has obtained assistance from the Veterans Administration, which will provide in-patient treatment for his PTSD and a substance abuse problem after he completes his prison term, Apruzzese told the judge.

It’s help that Elias, who was briefly hospitalized while still in the service, should have been — but was not — getting after his discharge in the spring of 2011, his lawyer said.

In his sentencing memorandum, Apruzzese said the family was strained by financial problems at the time of the two incidents.

Elias hadn’t worked since his discharge from the service that May, and his wife was earning less because she was working fewer hours after the birth of their child. Weeks earlier, Elias had been involved in a car accident in his wife’s car, but coverage for the damage was denied because he hadn’t been listed as a driver on the insurance policy, the lawyer wrote. They were trying to save money to fix the car and put it back on the road.

Rachel Elias declined to comment outside court yesterday.

In court papers, Apruzzese described how during visits at Middleton Jail, where Elias has been held since his arrest, the baby gives her father “high-fives” through the glass partition.

“I’m terribly sorry for my actions,” Elias told the judge yesterday, his voice breaking slightly. “I wish to become a good father and a good man.”

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

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