Plaistow couple indicted on witness-tampering charges, secretly recording video in abuse case
BRENTWOOD - A Plaistow couple has been indicted for secretly recording an interview with a state child protection worker and coaching a 3-year-old boy moments earlier into saying he was not being abused, according to indictments made public Monday.
A grand jury indicted Jessica Linscott, 23, and her boyfriend, Roland Dow, 27, of Plaistow on two felony counts of witness tampering and single counts of interception and disclosure of telecommunications.
Rockingham County Attorney James Reams announced the indictments Monday afternoon.
Dow and Linscott were apprehended Nov. 28 at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., after fleeing from allegations by doctors at Exeter Hospital that Nicholson had been abused. The indictments allege that the boy was abused by Dow between Nov. 1 and Nov. 16.
Prosecutors revealed at a bail hearing for Linscott Wednesday that the couple would face more charges for allegedly telling the boy how to respond to questions posed by a worker with the Department of Children, Youth and Families.
Linscott and Dow allegedly instructed James Nicholson to tell the DCYF worker on Oct. 23 that, "he does not get nose bleeds, that he does not get spanked and that he does not get yelled at," according to indictments made public Monday.
Dow is accused of secretly shooting video footage of the DCYF worker after she told them that they could not record her interview with the child. The computer camera was hidden under a couch, according to prosecutors. Moments before the DCYF worker arrived for a well-being check, Dow also recorded him and Linscott instructing Nicholson for about 20 minutes on what to say in response to questions from the child care worker.
The witness-tampering charges are Class B felonies, each punishable by up to 3 ½ to 7 years in state prison. The remaining charges are misdemeanors. Dow is scheduled to go on trial next month on first- and second-degree assault charges for allegedly striking Nicholson in the head and burning his hands.
Prosecutors expect to call Linscott as a state witness and are also expected to call an expert in domestic violence to testify about how victims react to their attackers. Linscott also faces trial on six misdemeanor accounts of endangering the welfare of a child.
Judge Marguerite Wageling decided last week that Linscott could write to her son, but the letters would first be screened by the boy's counselor and county prosecutors. Wageling rejected Linscott's requests to speak to her son by phone from the county jail.
Public defender Deanna Campbell said Linscott is taking parenting classes while in jail and one day hopes to have a relationship with her son.