NEWBURYPORT — A Salisbury man accused of strangling and slapping an 8-year-old autistic child is being held without bail after his arraignment yesterday in Newburyport District Court. 

Scott R. Gregan, 33, of Elm Street, was arrested Wednesday afternoon and charged with strangulation or suffocation, assault and battery on a child with injury and domestic assault and battery. 

At his arraignment yesterday, Gregan was ordered held pending a dangerousness hearing scheduled for Oct. 20 to determine whether his possible release would be considered a danger to society and his alleged victim. If convicted of the most serious charge, assault and battery on a child with injury, Gregan could spend up to five years in state prison. 

In court yesterday, the victim’s wheelchair-bound mother was helped into the courtroom.

At the podium, the victim’s mother could barely hold back tears as the 5-foot-tall, 200-pound Gregan was brought into the courtroom by a court officer. Later, the victim’s mother filed a restraining order against Gregan. 

According to the report of Salisbury police officer Patrick Szymkowski, two investigators from the Department of Children and Family visited the Salisbury police station around 3 p.m. Wednesday.

The representatives told police that the victim’s wounds had been noticed by elementary school teachers that morning. When asked how the victim received those wounds, the child told the teachers that she had been strangled briefly and slapped in the face by Gregan the night before. 

Police visited Gregan at his Elm Street residence where he was confronted with the victim’s story.

During the interview, Gregan told police that he was merely trying to restrain the 8-year-old who had just had an autistic episode.

Gregan denied striking the victim and went on to say he often had to restrain the victim when an episode occurred. 

Upon speaking to the victim’s mother, police learned that Gregan drinks heavily, often consuming a half-liter of vodka daily.

She also told police that she witnessed Gregan striking her child more than once.

Learning that Gregan had been arrested, she told police it was “the best day of her life,” according to Szymkowski’s report. 

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