Monday April 15, 2013

KEITH WHITCOMB JR.

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- A woman accused in February of being abusive toward her 18-month-old daughter is facing new charges alleging the same sort of behavior.

Adrienne M. Bowen, 22, pleaded not guilty Thursday to a felony count of second-degree domestic assault, a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to a child under 10, and two counts of violating court orders. She was held without bail until Friday when the court agreed to release her under the condition she not have contact with her child except through supervised visits through the Family Time or Easter Seals programs. She must also check in at the Bennington Police Department three times a week and is not allowed to leave Bennington.

Bowen pleaded not guilty in February to misdemeanor domestic assault, and cruelty to a child under 10. At that time she was released on conditions she not abuse the child or employ corporal punishment.

According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Detective Anthony Silvestro, on April 10 he was informed of a report made to the Department of Children and Families by a person referred to as "Witness#1" who claimed to have seen Bowen place her hands on her child’s neck and squeeze until the child fell to the floor crying.

The witness was interviewed at her home, where she said Bowen has been staying for the past week. The witness said she has seen Bowen swear at the child and on April 8 saw Bowen squeeze the child by the back of the neck hard enough to make the child fall to the ground and cry. The witness reported that Bowen repeated the action when the child stood up from the first time, then hit the child on the back and chest telling the child to "toughen up" and saying it did not hurt.

The witness told police she believed Bowen was playing with the child and she told Bowen she needed to stop because it was hurting the child. She said Bowen did not feed the child the night of April 7. According to the witness, Bowen does not supervise the child and swears at her when the child knocks things over. The witness told Bowen she would contact authorities if the behavior continued.

Silvestro said he met with the child and observed a red mark near the back of the neck and two such marks on the girl’s back.

He spoke to Bowen at the Bennington Police Department where Bowen said she is not abusive toward her child but they do play rough. She said she was tickling the child and only patted her on the stomach and did not hit her. Bowen said "Witness#1" did ask her not to be rough with child. At that point Bowen ended the interview with police.

According to a previous affidavit by Silvestro, on Feb. 9 he was notified by DCF of a report it received of Bowen allegedly abusing her daughter while at 6 Bank St. in North Bennington, a shelter run by the Bennington Coalition for the Homeless. Another resident of the shelter told police that on Feb. 8 she saw Bowen lift her child up by her arm and drop her on the floor, causing the child hit her head. The shelter resident said Bowen kicked the child in the foot.

Bowen told police she put her arm around the child when picking her up but then admitted to lifting her by the arm, but not out of anger. She said she did not kick the child.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.