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Newton couple facing assault charges after 1-month-old infant is caught in 'tug-of-war'

Union Leader Correspondent

December 12. 2013 1:11PM

NEWTON -- A Newton couple is facing assault charges after police say they abused their infant daughter when she was just a month old in a "tug of war" with her body that resulted in more than a dozen fractures.

Allen T. Rockwood, 32, and Christine Tumulty, 34, both of 76 S. Main St., were arrested Wednesday in connection with the alleged abuse.

In a police interview, Rockwood said he "probably hurt her" when he tried to pull the baby away from Tumulty during an incident in October.

Police Chief Larry Streeter said the child reportedly had several broken bones that were in various stages of healing and that the injuries are believed to have occurred over a one-month period.

Rockwood faces two counts of second-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

He is accused of causing multiple fractures to the girl's arms, legs and ribs by squeezing, twisting and pulling her, according to the complaints.

Rockwood was arraigned via video in 10th Circuit Court, Plaistow District Division, Thursday morning and was ordered held on $250,000 cash bail at the Rockingham County jail.

Tumulty was charged with one count of second-degree assault and was released on bail Wednesday night.

Police said the infant remains in the custody of the state's Division of Children, Youth and Families, and the Rockingham County Attorney's Office may bring additional charges.

According to a written report by Newton Officer Robert DiFlumeri, police received a report Oct. 21 of a baby that was brought to Exeter Hospital by her mother and admitted with multiple injuries.

A representative from DCYF told police that the baby was admitted to the hospital with a possible hemorrhage in both eyes and a hip injury.

X-rays performed on the girl showed numerous fractures to her ribs, arms and legs, the report said. The fractures were in varying stages of healing.

"Given the fact that the child had no clinical or radiologic evidence of bone disease and given the pattern of her injuries, it is clear that she has been physically abused," the report said.

During a polygraph exam on Oct. 31, police said Rockwood answered "no" when asked if he had injured his baby, but later confessed when the examiner confronted him about what were considered to be "deceptive responses" after grading the exam.

Rockwood began to cry and told police that a week before the baby was brought to the hospital he was sleeping on the couch and feeding her when another child tried to "rip the bottle" out of his hand. He said he yelled at the older boy.

Tumulty was washing dishes at the time and broke a dish in the sink when she became angry, according to the report.

Rockwood said he yelled at her for breaking the dish. He told police that Tumulty then followed him into the bedroom and "tried to rip the baby out of my hands…"

At one point during the interview, Rockwood told police that he's "the bad guy" because of another assault on his other son in 2009. According to police, Rockwood was convicted of assault and battery on a child.

"Rockwood then demonstrated how he had the baby wrapped up against his body and Christine grabbed her by the legs and pulled and squeezed and twisted to pull the baby away from her. Rockwood then stated in the process I probably hurt her. But I'm the one that's gonna go down for this anyway," the report said.

During a follow-up visit Nov. 4, the doctor noted that the bleeding points in her eyes and bruising on her eyelid and forearm had cleared up. She also appeared to be "very well" and had gained weight, but additional X-rays discovered more fractures that were not visible during the first series of X-rays because of the healing process, the report said.

While police investigate allegations of child abuse on occasion, Streeter called this case "astonishing" because of the child's age.

"The thing that's different is it's a one-month-old," Streeter said.

Streeter said two other children live at the home but have not been removed.

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