BEVERLY — A former Beverly man pleaded guilty Thursday to punching a 13-year-old boy and slamming a door into his 9-year-old sister after the boy asked him to turn down his music late one night last year.
Terence Newell, 39, who had dated the children’s mother, was originally charged with assaulting her as well. But during a hearing in Salem District Court, prosecutors announced that the woman now claims the allegations are untrue and has refused to cooperate with prosecutors.
Police were called to an apartment on Rantoul Street shortly after 11 p.m. on June 19, 2012, by a neighbor who told them that a man was “beating up children,” according to court papers.
By the time police arrived, Newell had fled. But Newell’s ex-girlfriend, the mother of the children, told officers that she’d been letting him stay with her. That night, the boy had asked Newell to turn down the music he was playing.
Instead, Newell pushed the boy to the floor. When the boy got up, Newell punched him in the forehead with a closed fist, leaving a bump.
As the woman and her daughter tried to intervene, Newell allegedly punched the woman — an allegation the woman now denies making — and slammed a door into the girl. The girl ran to a neighbor’s apartment and asked her to call 911.
Newell, meanwhile, grabbed the boy’s cell phone and ran away, police said.
The mother of the children refused medical attention for herself and her children, according to the police report, and turned down an offer to help her obtain a domestic restraining order.
Police that night attempted to file a report of abuse with the Department of Children and Families, but after spending 30 minutes on hold, were told it was uncertain whether someone would be available to take the report that night, police noted. Police followed up the next day with DCF.
Police also obtained an arrest warrant for Newell, but he did not turn up again until this May, when he was in custody in Plymouth County on unrelated charges. Newell is currently serving a sentence there and was brought to Salem to answer to the charges.
Under the terms of a plea agreement, Newell, who claims to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, pleaded guilty to the assault counts involving the children; the charges related to his former girlfriend as well as a larceny count for the missing cell phone were dismissed.
Newell was sentenced to a year of probation.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.