AMESBURY – James Rooney, the Congress Street man accused of biting a 4-year-old relative 100 times is expected to be released from custody after posting $5,000 cash bail. 

Rooney, 42, was arraigned last month in Newburyport District Court on charges of assault and battery of a child, indecent assault and battery of a child under 14, and assault and battery. If convicted, Rooney faces up to 10 years in state prison.

Back in District Court on Thursday, Rooney was found to be a danger to society and his alleged victim by Judge Allen Swan. But instead of detaining Rooney while he awaits trial, as requested by an Essex County prosecutor, Swan released Rooney on $5,000 cash bail. 

Rooney must adhere to a long list of conditions while awaiting trial including: wearing a GPS tracking device, staying out of Danvers, staying away from the mother's workplace, staying away and having no contact with the alleged victim and witnesses, and complying with all restraining orders. 

Rooney posted bail that afternoon but remained in custody because he was required to clear up a previous warrant out of Westborough District Court. Once that court matter was resolved, Rooney was expected to be brought back to Newburyport District Court to be fitted with a GPS device, according to court documents. 

Until that device is fitted on ankle, Rooney will remain in custody, according to an Essex County District Attorney's Office spokesperson. 

According to prosecutors, Rooney allegedly bit the 4-year-old “a hundred times” in several places on the child’s body. The injuries were noticed by relatives, including one who took the child to a pediatrician.

The doctor noticed bite marks on the stomach, toes and nose. Kennedy also said the child told relatives that Rooney held the youngster down on a bed. The child was then bitten on the neck.

The child’s mother reported the incidents to the Amesbury Police Department, prompting officers to visit Rooney at his home. Rooney was taken to the police station for questioning and, despite being told of his right to remain silent, admitted biting the child over and over, according to Kennedy.

At the time of his arrest, Rooney was on probation for an earlier unspecified offense.

Swan also ordered the Amesbury Police Department’s report impounded, which means the media and public cannot gain access.

Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.



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