Associated Press

BRENTWOOD, N.H. — An abused toddler was forced to spend most of his time in the bathroom, including sleeping in the tub, for several weeks before he was hospitalized, his mother told jurors Monday at her ex-boyfriend’s trial.

Jessica Linscott, 24, of Plaistow, is serving 2 1/2 to 7 years in prison for failing to get her son medical help and coaching him to lie to a social worker. She finished testifying Monday against Roland Dow, 28, who faces a dozen charges, including assault, child endangerment and witness tampering.

Linscott said Dow made her son, James, stay in the bathroom to discipline him after he urinated on the floor. Linscott said she disagreed with that approach and initially “tried to make it fun” by putting foam cushions and blankets in the bathtub. But Dow eventually removed everything to further punish the boy for soiling the bedding, she said. Linscott said they both yelled at him, and Dow hit him.

“He’s a boy, he needs to be disciplined like a boy,” Linscott said Dow told her.

Dow and Linscott were arrested at a Florida amusement park in November 2012, two weeks after leaving the boy at a hospital. James, now 5, is recovering from burns and a severe brain injury and lives with Linscott’s mother.

“I was walking around the amusement park, I was going on rides,” Linscott said. “I was being a horrible person. I was not being a parent … I was running from police.”

Linscott testified last week that Dow physically and mentally abused her and treated her son “worse than a dog you don’t want.” Under questioning from Dow’s attorney Monday, she admitted that she, too, punished James harshly, including making him repeatedly run back and forth across the yard. She also said she regularly spanked him, once shoved him hard enough to send him “flying across the room” and once struck him in the arm with a spray cleaner bottle.

“I was not physically forced to do anything,” she said. “I participated in things I felt were wrong and was uncomfortable about, but I still allowed them to happen.”

Linscott testified that she regularly took the drug methadone in the weeks before her son was hospitalized, and got drunk and took more pills while on the run. But she said she only left the hospital because child welfare workers took custody of her son and ordered her to leave.

Dow’s attorneys say Linscott has a history of falsely accusing others when threatened. They questioned her about allegations she made about her family, and suggested she only blamed Dow to avoid a longer prison sentence.

Linscott denied that, saying she struck a deal with prosecutors because “it was the right thing to do.”

“I deserve every minute I got because what I did was terrible,” she said, breaking down in tears. “I’m just trying to do what’s right for my son after doing so many things wrong.”

Earlier Monday, jurors watched several videos taken by Linscott a few days before James was hospitalized. She has said she took them to show doctors because she thought the boy was having “autistic fits.”

In one video, James is seen bruised and moaning in a bathtub while Dow yells at him to get up. In another, James stumbles and crashes to the floor, and both Dow and Linscott are heard yelling at him as he struggles to get dressed.

Jurors also viewed photos of James in the hospital, with bruises over much of his body and what appear to be burns on one arm and hand.

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