A Hardwick man is being held without bail in a disturbing case in which he allegedly assaulted his 7-year-old son, who fell into a coma and showed signs of starvation, dehydration, and bruising, injuries that were exacerbated when he was forced to scrub floors, court records show.
Randall E. Lints, 26, entered no plea at his arraignment Wednesday in East Brookfield District Court to charges of assault and battery on a child with substantial injury, reckless endangerment of a child, and two counts of permitting injury to a child, said a spokesman for Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.
Lints was ordered held pending a dangerousness hearing on Friday. He was arrested on Tuesday.
His lawyer, John F. Madaio, declined to comment on the charges but said Lints is “very concerned for his son, and he’s very distressed about the whole situation.”
The state Department of Children and Families said in a brief statement that the agency “received a report and is collaborating with law enforcement on its investigation.” The boy is currently in DCF custody.
A DCF spokeswoman declined to say whether the boy’s family had a prior history with the child protection agency, citing respect for the youth’s privacy.
According to a State Police report, a Hardwick officer went to Lints’ home on July 14, after a caller said a child there was breathing but unresponsive. The officer saw bruising on the boy’s head and jaw, and Lints said the child fell out of bed two days earlier, the report said.
The boy was taken to Baystate Mary Lane Hospital in Ware with “life-threatening injuries,” according to the report. He was transferred to the Baystate Health medical campus in Springfield, where Dr. Stephen C. Boos examined him several times.
According to authorities, Boos noted that the boy had multiple bruises on his body that were inconsistent with a fall, and the child had lost approximately 12 to 15 pounds in recent months, dropping to just 38½ pounds.
Boos wrote in one assessment that “reports of being ‘in his room’ for days, against a background of behavioral complaints, combined with the physical injuries, apparent starvation, and dehydration create grave concerns for inflicted injury,” the State Police report said.
The report, filed after Lints’s arrest on Tuesday, said the boy is still in a coma. He remains hospitalized in Springfield, and a Baystate Health spokesman said he had no information on the child on Wednesday.
Investigators have found that Lints, who has a grim reaper tattoo on his chest, rarely lets his son out of view or allows him to be alone with others, and that he has a history of limiting the boy’s food and drink intake, even though a therapist addressed the issue in May, the report said.
Lints’ strict discipline and “forcing [his son] to continuously wash the floors contributed to [his] injuries,” State Police wrote.
The report also said injuries to the child’s knees and hands are the result of bleach exposure and are healing.
In addition, a nurse spotted scarring and blistering on his feet that appeared to be the result of a burn, the report said.
Madaio, his lawyer, said Wednesday that “I think some information will come out [during Friday’s hearing] that is interesting, at least as far as the situation that he finds himself in. . . . That’s all I have to say right now.”
The boy’s mother is not named in the State Police report, and court records indicate that Lints is unmarried.