Justin Ladd, 33, is facing 21 counts that include indecent assault and battery of a child under age 14, open and gross lewdness, and intimidation of a witness. He was ordered held without bail at a dangerousness hearing Tuesday.
Ladd is accused of abusing his stepdaughters between September 2008 and February 2013. A spokesperson for the Department of Children and Families told FOX 25 the 14-year-old and 16-year-old have been in their custody since August 2013.
"The Department has had prior involvement with the family and is reviewing the case, while cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation," read the statement in-part.
The teens told a social worker about the alleged abuse on April 14 and a joint interview was held on April 23.
The girls claim Ladd would beat them with a hammer and pull on their tongues with a pair of pliers. They further allege that Ladd called them racial slurs and exposed himself to them and their siblings.
Ladd's attorney refused to comment outside of court Tuesday.
"I have no comments on any of my conversations with my client," he said.
The North Andover home where the alleged abuse occurred is currently being renovated for homeless veteran families. Contractor Skip Jewett says the house was a foreclosure sale in April of last year after the Ladds had moved out. He said the house was filthy and graffiti was all over the walls."This is dad's [expletive] soap, don't touch it, written in the shower stalls. So there were little notes like that all over the place," Jewett said.
He went on to say, "The man was evidently troubled. He was raising pit bulls down in the cellar. We pulled the cages apart and got rid of them. You could see the blood all over the cages from the dogs trying to get out."
Ladd is due back in court on June 13 for a probable cause hearing.
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