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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Cop admits beating mother, 73: Peabody officer turns himself in after assault leaves woman in coma
By Julie Manganis and Andrew Hickey
Staff writers

PEABODY — A Peabody police officer has admitted beating his elderly mother for months, culminating with a Thanksgiving Day assault that left her in a coma.

George Sideris, 33, turned himself in at the Peabody police station yesterday. He pleaded not guilty in Peabody District Court to charges of assault and battery on a person over 60 causing serious injury.

Sideris, a full-time police officer for four years, has been suspended without pay and was forced to turn over his gun and badge, according to police.

Melpomeni Sideris, 73, remained in a coma in the intensive care unit of Salem Hospital last night, a spokeswoman said. George Sideris was placed on a suicide watch at Middleton Jail.

News of the arrest stunned neighbors on Ellsworth Road, where Sideris lives with his mother just up the street from the police station.

Next-door neighbor Jack Bancroft said Sideris and his mother gardened together in the summer and often came to his door bearing vegetables. Bancroft said they often spoke to each other in Greek and he never heard them fighting.

"She speaks the world of her 'Georgie,'" Bancroft said. "They lived together. They loved each other."

In his statement to police, Sideris said he started abusing his mother in March when he kicked and slapped her and sent her to the hospital.

He assaulted her again within the last couple of weeks. Once he punched her in the forehead and watched as it swelled. Earlier this week, he slapped her in the face and hit her back with the side of his fist.

On Thanksgiving Day, Sideris hit his mother in the back and on the right shoulder. This time, she lay down and was unresponsive when he asked questions. When her breathing and circulation seemed shallow, Sideris told police he called 911.

Handcuffed with a nylon jacket covering his hands, Sideris appeared in court just after 3 p.m. yesterday. Defense lawyer James Rennick could be heard telling him not to say anything as he entered the courtroom.

Rennick had asked a court psychologist to meet with his client before the court appearance. Dr. Randall Dwyer raised concerns about Sideris's emotional stability, and Rennick requested his client be kept under observation. Judge Santo Ruma ordered that Sideris be kept under close watch for emotional disturbance or suicidal behavior.

After yesterday's hearing, Sideris was brought downstairs to a holding cell. A sheriff's department van arrived to take him to jail. But instead he was taken by ambulance to Lahey Clinic in Peabody after he complained of chest pains. He was then taken directly to jail from the hospital, police said.

Several of Sideris's relatives attended yesterday's hearing but declined comment.

But Sideris' neighbors said they were puzzled by how a mother-son relationship that appeared loving on the surface could erupt into violence.

Christine and Neil Gray both shook their heads, saying the alleged abuse was "hard to believe."

"I thought he was living with her to take care of her," Neil Gray said. "Never did she give any indication of anything like this."

"They are both very friendly," Christine Gray said. "I'm shocked. He seemed like a very, very nice guy. This is all so sad."

Bancroft, the other neighbor, said Melpomeni Sideris would give him her Feta cheese because she was watching her cholesterol.

"I don't believe this, I really don't," Bancroft said. "I refuse to believe this."

The Grays and Bancroft said having a police officer living in the neighborhood was a huge selling point when they bought their homes.

Yesterday, however, police officers were camped out in the driveway of the vacant Sideris house. They said they were "securing the scene," but wouldn't provide more details.

Within the police department, Sideris was considered a nice guy and model officer, Peabody Police Lt. Dennis Bonaiuto said. Several Peabody police officers showed up at the courthouse yesterday.

"He was very well-liked within and about the department," Bonaiuto said.

Sideris' arrest has caused "a great deal of sadness and a great deal of surprise" to his fellow officers, Bonaiuto said.

Bonaiuto said it doesn't appear that George Sideris has been arrested in the past or has been disciplined within the police department.

"I would be extremely surprised to learn anything like that," he said.

Melpomeni Sideris immigrated to Peabody from Greece with her husband about 35 or 40 years ago, according to her second cousin, Minas Dakos, who is well-known as a member of the city's License Commission and as a bail commissioner. Dakos accompanied Sideris to the police station yesterday and was also in court.

Dakos said that at some point after their only son was born, her husband abandoned his young family and returned to Greece.

Melpomeni Sideris raised her son on her own and bought the house on Ellsworth Road, Dakos said.

Dakos said George Sideris went to Salem State College before getting on the police force. Before joining the force full time in October 2000, Sideris was a dispatcher for almost two years.

The investigation has been taken over by State Police assigned to the district attorney's office. Sideris will be held without bail at least through Tuesday, when a judge will determine whether he poses a danger if released.

:no: :no:

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1,207 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Dangerousness hearing for Peabody cop in elder abuse case postponed
By Jill Harmacinski and Julie Manganis
Staff writers

PEABODY — The court hearing to determine whether a Peabody police officer poses a danger if he's released on bail has been postponed until Thursday.

Patrolman George Sideris, who admitted to police last week that he beat his 73-year-old mother, was scheduled to appear today in Peabody District Court for a so-called "dangerousness" hearing.

But lawyers for Sideris asked that the hearing be postponed, a request granted late yesterday afternoon by a Peabody District Court judge. The defense is not required to explain why it wants a postponement. Sideris has hired a new lawyer, Edward O'Reilly.

Sideris, 33, has pleaded not guilty to charges of assault and battery on a person over 60. But according to police, he admitted to beating his mother for months, culminating with a Thanksgiving Day assault that left her in a coma. The two lived together on Ellsworth Road.

Melpomeni Sideris remained in serious condition in the intensive care unit at Salem Hospital last night. Sideris is in Middleton Jail under a suicide watch.

More details about what went on in the Sideris household over the past six months could emerge from Thursday's hearing. A judge will be asked to determine whether he poses a danger to himself or others, including his mother. The judge must decide if there are any conditions, such as electronic monitoring or close probation supervision, that could protect others, or if Sideris is simply too dangerous to release.

The District Attorney's office has assigned a prosecutor to the case, Karen Hopwood, who until recently was in charge of all domestic violence prosecutions in Lynn District Court.

Peabody Police Chief Robert Champagne said Sideris has never been disciplined by the department or had a complaint filed by a civilian in Sideris' four years with the department. Champagne described Sideris as "mild-mannered and soft spoken."

"We're shocked on many levels," Champagne said. "It's a horrendous day when you have to arrest one of your own on these kind of charges. Our prayers, of course, are with his mother."

Neighbors said the facts of the case don't match the doting mother and caring son they thought they knew. But experts say it isn't easy to spot elder abuse. The vast majority of elder abuse comes at the hands of relatives and in the confines of the family home, they say.

"The victim and abuser often depend on one another in some way," said Sara Aravanis, director of the National Center on Elder Abuse in Washington, D.C.

The number of abuse cases reported to Elder Services of the North Shore has climbed about 5 percent every year for the past two decades, said Joe Wamness, protective services supervisor for the agency that serves Peabody, Danvers, Salem, Middleton and Marblehead.

The agency has four social workers dedicated to cases of elder abuse and neglect. At any one time they are dealing with about 60 families, Wamness said. Caseworkers can help set up medical and living assistance for the abused, help them seek restraining orders and set up supervised visits.

Wamness attributes the rising caseload to increased awareness of the problem, not an actual rise in abuse.

Medical professionals, police and firefighters are obligated by law to report suspected abuse. But neighbors and friends shouldn't hesitate to report their suspicions to police, experts say. The person reporting their suspicions can remain anonymous.

But there is little authorities can do without the cooperation of the victim, who is often hesitant to turn in their abuser, Wamness said.

"It's a family member they care about," said Assistant District Attorney Kathe Tuttman, who heads the Essex County family crime and sexual assault unit. "A person may actually love the individual that's abusing them and it's hard for them to feel they can follow through with law enforcement."

Staff reporter Michael Puffer contributed to this story.

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
On 911 tape, cop avoids blame in mother's beating
By Jill Harmacinski
Staff writer

PEABODY - Police officer George Sideris said his mother hit her head, not that he beat her, when he dialed 911 for help on Thanksgiving Day.

At the request of The Salem News, police Chief Robert Champagne yesterday released a copy of the emergency call Sideris made from his Ellsworth Road home.

The day after the beating Sideris, 33, turned himself into police and confessed to a series of assaults on his 73-year-old mother. He is being held without bail in Middleton Jail and is under a suicide watch.

According to the 911 tape, Sideris first said, "My mother's really weak. She can't talk."

No sound from Melpomeni Sideris could be heard in the background.

George Sideris, gasping for breath, then said, "She hit her head last week. Now she feels weak. She had this last winter also. She can't talk now."

Police, firefighters and an ambulance responded to the call. Melpomeni Sideris was taken to Salem Hospital, where she remains in a coma. She was listed in serious condition last night.

George Sideris is due back in court Dec. 23 to determine if he's a danger to himself or the community.

Sideris allegedly told investigators he beat his mother on several occasions, including last March when she ended up in Salem Hospital.

Staff reporter Jill Harmacinski can be reached at 978-338-2652 or by email at [email protected].

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Peabody cop indicted in beating of mother
By Julie Manganis
Staff writer

SALEM — A Peabody police officer has been indicted for the Thanksgiving Day beating of his elderly mother, a beating so severe it left the 73-year-old woman in a coma.

Now, George Sideris, 33, is facing charges including assault and battery on a person over 60 causing severe bodily injury and three counts of assault and battery.

Sideris remains in Middleton Jail, being held without bail pending a hearing to determine if he would pose a danger if released. He is expected to appear in Salem Superior Court to answer to the new charges, possibly on Dec. 23, the date the dangerousness hearing was scheduled.

The day after the beating Sideris turned himself in at the Peabody police department, his employer for about four years. He confessed to beating his mother, Melpomeni Sideris, for months, starting back in March with another assault that sent her to the hospital. The two lived together on Ellsworth Road.

Yesterday's indictments go back to Nov. 19, when Sideris told police that he punched his mother in the forehead, then watched as it swelled up. Then, he told police, he slapped her in the face and hit her in the back.

On Thanksgiving he allegedly admitted to hitting her on the back and shoulder. He called 911 when she stopped responding to his questions.

A relative of the woman said that she has made some progress since her initial hospitalization, apparently emerging from the coma, though she is not fully responsive.

Michael Gargas, a Salem lawyer who has been appointed as a temporary legal guardian, said he is expecting to receive an update on her condition sometime today.

Gargas was appointed by a Salem Probate Court judge at the request of North Shore Elder Services. He will oversee decisions about her medical care and finances for at least 90 days.

Ordinarily, such decisions could have been made by an immediate family member. But with her husband having abandoned her years ago, and her only child now charged with assaulting her, there was no one available to look after her affairs.

Sideris was suspended without pay following his arrest.

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
New details emerge in elder-abuse case against Peabody cop
By Julie Manganis
Staff writer

PEABODY — Suspended Peabody police officer George Sideris blamed job stress for a series of assaults on his elderly mother, the last of which, on Thanksgiving, left her in a coma for several weeks.

This and other new details emerged yesterday during a hearing at Salem Superior Court to determine whether Sideris, 33, is too dangerous to be released on bail while awaiting trial. He has been held without bail since he turned himself in to police after the Thanksgiving Day beating.

The hearing gave a more complete picture of what happened over the past six months inside the home Sideris shared with his 73-year-old mother and at the Peabody police station where he was allegedly teased repeatedly by coworkers.

Judge David Lowy began hearing evidence yesterday and will continue the hearing on Tuesday with testimony from a priest to whom Sideris first confessed on the day after Thanksgiving.

"Father Andrew (Demotses) came and asked how this happened," Sideris told police in a statement. "I couldn't lie to him."

Until that point, Sideris had been telling fellow officers, hospital staffers and relatives that his mother had fallen and may have choked on a banana.

But on the morning of Nov. 26, at the urging of his priest and a cousin, Minas Dakos, Sideris confessed to abusing his mother for months.

"I hit my mother several times leading up to when she went to the hospital in March. ... I had slapped her and kicked her once in the leg," he told police.

In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, he said, "we had arguments. On Nov. 19, probably the afternoon time, I punched her in the right forehead. I saw it swell up. ... I started to get medical help. She did not want it and didn't complain about any pain. I monitored her and asked her not to report it."

Days later, on the Monday or Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Sideris said he slapped his mother on the face and hit her in the back with the side of his first.

Then, on Thanksgiving, "I again hit her back and right shoulder. Then she (lay) down. I gave her a banana, which she ate with our dog. Then, she lay there. She couldn't answer me."

Sideris, now worried, gave his mother two or three "rescue breaths," then called 911.

Claimed she had fallen

But when fellow officers arrived at his home on Thanksgiving, Sideris told a different story.

Patrolman James Christman told an investigator he noticed a large bruise on her right temple. "George said he's mad at himself for not taking her to the hospital, but she didn't want to go when she fell last week," he reported.

Patrolman Daniel Jenkins also noticed the bruise on her face and a bump on her head. "George said she had fallen down within the past week," he said.

Sideris went on to say that she had gotten up to do laundry that morning and "didn't look very well." He said he gave her a banana, thinking her potassium was low. "After he gave her the banana, he said he thought she might have choked on a piece of the banana and that is what is causing the airway obstruction."

Sideris went back and forth between the hospital and a cousin's home. The next day he went to the hospital with Dakos. A short time later, the Rev. Demotses showed up to pray.

"At the conclusion of the prayer, he asked George what happened," Dakos told an investigator.

"I hit her and I'm responsible for her being here," Sideris replied.

Demotses and Dakos convinced Sideris to turn himself in, and they drove to the police station, where he wanted to speak directly with Chief Robert Champagne. But when the chief wasn't there, he asked Dakos to drive him to Lt. Edward Bettencourt's home. Bettencourt wasn't home, so they went back to the station, where they met Capt. Scott Carriere.

"He cried and said he was sorry for what happened," Dakos told State Police investigator Robert LaBarge Jr.

Sideris also told Carriere that he had been experiencing job stress, concern about his mother's health and concern that she wasn't doing certain things around the house. "Mostly it was job stress," Dakos told the state trooper.

Sideris wept at several points during yesterday's hearing, at one point crying openly as his lawyer questioned the Peabody captain about some of the reported taunts.

Taunted at work

Defense lawyer Edward O'Reilly honed in on that issue during his cross-examination of LaBarge and Carriere, introducing statements from fellow officers that suggested Sideris was not fitting in with other patrolmen on his overnight shift.

Sgt. Rick Sims told State Police Sgt. Dennis Marks that back in March, he learned of a dispute between Sideris and another sergeant, Richard Lee. Sideris told Sims he wanted to quit the force, but "my mother will not sign the papers to the house if I'd sell it now and get out of here right now."

Sims said Sideris was more sensitive than other officers, going back to when he worked as a dispatcher. "Others were picked on, but they shot right back. George never did," Sims said.

There were "a lot of jokes behind his back" about his mother, his lack of a social life or girlfriend and camping trips he took alone, Sims acknowledged.

A fellow patrolman, James Dickinson, described Sideris as "a little slow, timid, quiet, loner."

"George would be called dumb if he screwed up a call," Dickinson said. "The remarks were internalized more by George."

Yet, on patrol, "George seemed to be the nicest guy," Dickinson said.

It was not an assessment shared by everyone.

One neighbor questioned by police said Melpomeni Sideris was devoted to her son and would "wait on him hand and foot."

But Ellen Burke said she saw Sideris do little to reciprocate. She would often see Mrs. Sideris at the door to greet her son when he returned home at 8 a.m. He would hand his coat to her and many times would leave his bag for her to drag into the house, she said.

"As far as helping her around the house, I never saw him do anything," Burke told an investigator. "I would see her in her garden, working. I never saw him help in the garden," until about two weeks before she went to the hospital, when she said she was surprised to see Sideris helping rake leaves.

Awakened from coma

Though Mrs. Sideris initially appeared unlikely to emerge from her coma, she awoke on Dec. 15, ironically right after a meeting between family members and a doctor.

A cousin, Sharon Bainbridge, said she believes the mother and son had a loving relationship and said Mrs. Sideris has asked to see her son.

But she struggled when Lowy, the judge, asked how she reconciled her view of the mother and son's relationship in light of the charges against George Sideris.

"I don't know," she said after a long pause. "I've been going through mixed emotions. I just think he's sorry."

Absolute scum!!!!!! :evil: :evil:

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1,207 Posts
Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Re: Peabody cop released

Hopefully, he will go drown his sorrows and a few Hells Angels will reconize him.

"Ok boys, get the bats and the door knobs----im feeling "stressful". :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :x :roll:
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