RI AG: Johnston man sentenced to 15 years in prison for physically abusing 4-month-old son in 2017


A Johnston man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for physically abusing his four-month-old son in 2017.

On April 13, Superior Court Justice Daniel A. Procaccini sentenced Jean Diaz De La Rosa, 27, of Johnston, to 20 years at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI), with 15 years to serve, after a hearing in Providence County Superior Court.

“Additionally, the defendant must undergo mental health and anger treatment, and abide by a no-contact order with the victim,” according to a press release from Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Neronha. Following a five-day jury trial in January, De La Rosa was found guilty of two counts of first-degree child abuse.

“This Office prosecutes thousands of cases every year, and yet there are some that still leave one searching for words,” Neronha said Friday. “We talk often about protecting our state’s most vulnerable residents. Are there any more vulnerable than a four-month-old child? A child who should have been loved, and cared for, especially by his parent. Yet this child was abused by that parent, physically, severely, repeatedly. I hope this sentencing brings some measure of justice to this brave boy.”

The investigation began back in February 2017, when Johnston Police responded to Hasbro Children’s Hospital. A Child Protective Investigator from the Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF) and a physician in the Child Abuse Unit had reported a suspected case of child abuse. The victim was a 4-month-old Johnston infant, brought into the hospital by his parents.

A Feb. 16, 2017 report in the Johnston Sun Rise described the boy’s symptoms as lethargy, drowsiness and “significant swelling to both legs.” After an examination, doctors found “seven fractures to both of his legs and some blunt abdominal trauma causing injury to his pancreas.” The prosecution also revealed that the child suffered from fractures in his “left hip and right tibia, and three additional fractures in his shoulders.”

The child was placed in DCFY custody while the case was investigated. Both parents were transported to Johnston Police Department headquarters and questioned by detectives.

Police determined “the 10 fractures were indicative of child abuse and that two or more traumatic incidents occurred,” according to the prosecution.

After speaking to both parents, the father, identified in the 2017 Sun Rise report as “Jean Koury Diaz de la Rosa,” then 21, of 2053 Plainfield Pike in Johnston, was charged with felony first-degree child abuse, and arraigned at Kent County District Court.

“I am enormously grateful to the jury for its guilty verdict,” Neronha said following the trial. “The Hasbro Children’s Hospital staff, the Department of Children, Youth, and Families and the Johnston Police Department all did fine work here, and I am grateful to them as well.”

Johnston police were glad to see a small modicum of justice served.

“Cases involving the physical abuse of children are some of the most heartbreaking that the men and women of the Johnston Police Department investigate,” said Johnston Police Chief Mark A. Viera. “Our thoughts are with the victim and his family at this time, and hope that this sentencing can bring a sense of justice to them, following an incredibly traumatic experience.”

Johnston Police Detectives Brian Loffredi (retired), Christopher DeCesare and Michael Edwards led the case investigation. Special Assistant Attorneys General Jonathan Burke and Meagan Thomson handled the prosecution.


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