The trial for a man accused of severely abusing and beating his girlfriend’s son began this week.
Roland H. Dow, 28, is facing accusations that he repeatedly and brutally beat three-year-old James Linscott in 2012. Linscott’s mother, Jessica Linscott, is currently serving a prison term after pleading guilty to child endangerment and witness tampering charges.
Linscott appeared in court as a witness this week and fought through tears as she recounted the numerous instances of abuse she let Dow carry out on her son.
She said Dow treated her son “worse than a dog you don’t want.”
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“I allowed a lot of things to happen that I shouldn’t have let happen,” she said. “I was being a horrific parent.”
Linscott claimed Dow despised her son and constantly looked for reasons to beat him.
“No matter what my son was doing, he was doing it wrong [in Dow’s eyes],” she said. “My son couldn’t color the right way, he couldn’t eat the right way, he couldn’t talk the right way.”
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Linscott said she let the abuse happen because she didn’t know what else to do. She claims Dow abused her as well. When she tried to leave him once, he called her saying he would kill himself if she didn’t come back.
Linscott set up a camera in her home to film troubling health problems her son was having in hopes of showing the footage to a doctor. The child suffered from seizures and stomach pains. But instead of providing a doctor with medical footage, the tapes ultimately provided prosecutors with criminal footage.
Dow is seen and heard on the tapes beating the child during seizures and forcing his head underwater in a bathtub. He is also heard coaching the child on how to conceal the abuse during an upcoming visit from a social worker.
Dow is heard asking James “Do you like being here?” and answering that question himself with a “Yes.”
He asks James “Anybody ever spank you?” and “Ever go in the shower when you’re really bad?” and instructs the boy to answer “no” to both questions. He finishes the chilling instructions by saying “Hey, give me a hug. We’re best friends, right?”
Linscott and Dow were both arrested after they abandoned James at a hospital with severe injuries in 2012. They were found and arrested at an amusement park in Florida. At the hospital, James was treated for brain injuries and burns.
According to district attorney Patricia Conway, James was “beaten to the point where he almost lost his life.”
Dow is facing numerous assault and child abuse charges. He formally denies all of them. James, now five years old, is in the custody of Linscott’s mother.