Dad JAMES NYMAN has all the standard fathers rights defenses down pat: All the charges against him are "made up" as a "ploy" by his ex-wife to get custody.
However, note that there is quite a bit of evidence that Dad is going to have to "splain" away: Four 51A reports of possible sexual abuse, a DSS report showing "reasonable cause," and more than a half dozen other reports of abuse (all of which indicated "concerns" by police, doctors, and others about Dad's abuse of the boy). Mom has also accused him of assault and battery, and when the police searched his computer, they found "torture" pornography.
Hopefully, the trial will stick to the evidence and not get let the defense get everybody bogged down in bogus, unsubstantiated allegations of "alienation" against the mother and the like.
Sandwich man denies abusing his son
Cape Cod Times/Merrily Lunsford
By Patrick Cassidy
October 23, 2009
A Sandwich man pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges that he sexually molested his 5-year-old son.
James Nyman, 50, of 33 Chipman Road was summonsed to Barnstable District Court, where he was arraigned on charges of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 years old.
After the arraignment outside the courtroom, Nyman vehemently denied the charges, saying the allegations were "nonsense" — part of a ploy by his ex-wife to gain custody of their child.
The allegations stem from an ugly and protracted custody battle between Nyman and his ex-wife, argued Nyman's Plymouth-based attorney, Colleen Carroll.
"There have been numerous allegations, none of which has been substantiated," Carroll said, repeatedly referring to a tall stack of files that she said represented only one-third of the paperwork from the ongoing case in Barnstable Probate and Family Court.
During the proceedings yesterday, Nyman stood quietly as Assistant District Attorney Michelle Groff read the allegations.
Groff said four reports of possible sexual abuse were recently filed with the state Department of Children and Families (formerly the Department of Social Services). Several classes of professionals such as doctors, teachers and counselors are required to file the so-called 51A reports when they believe a child is being abused or neglected. The Department of Children and Families conducted its own investigation and determined there was "reasonable cause" to believe allegations of neglect and sexual abuse by Nyman, according to a document from the agency obtained by the Times.
This is not the first time Nyman has been accused of assaulting his son.
Over the past three years, more than a half-dozen other reports of possible abuse have been submitted on behalf of the young boy, according to documents obtained by the Times.
The reports indicate concerns by police, doctors and others about potential abuse of the boy by Nyman. At least one report also accused the mother of physical abuse.
While the state did not support all of the abuse allegations, several alleged incidents against the father were deemed credible, according to the documents.
The reports and the details of specific investigations by the Department of Children and Family Services are confidential, agency spokeswoman Alison Goodwin said.
The boy's mother continues to make such allegations against her ex-husband immediately before the couple's custody case is scheduled for trial, Carroll said.
"It appears this is the fifth time it has been scheduled for trial," she said. "There's a lot more to this case then these allegations."
Nyman's ex-wife also accused him of domestic assault and battery and threatening her in 2006, according to Barnstable police reports. When Nyman was arrested, police obtained a search warrant for his computer, where she said he stored pictures of women being tortured, according to the police reports.
During a search of his computer two dozen images of women being "sexually tortured" were found, according to the police report.
The case was dismissed after the woman declined to testify against Nyman, a move she claims was based on her fear of retaliation at the time.
"I was so afraid, so scared, I couldn't testify," the woman said during an interview yesterday. The Times policy is not to identify the victims of alleged crimes.
She has gone to probate court repeatedly to fight for her son's safety, not his custody, the woman said.
"So many people believe and support what I am saying," she said.
Groff requested Judge W. James O'Neill to order Nyman held on $7,500 bail and not be allowed to have contact with his son.
But O'Neill opted to release Nyman on personal recognizance and set a pretrial hearing for Dec. 8.
"Nothing on his record suggests he will not appear in court," O'Neill said, adding that Nyman's right to visit his son will remain in the hands of the probate court.