Jury finds Johnston man guilty of physically abusing 4-month-old son in 2017


PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced today that a Johnston man has been found guilty in Providence County Superior Court of physically abusing his four-month-old son in 2017.


On January 11, 2023, following the conclusion of a five-day jury trial before Superior Court Justice Daniel A. Procaccini, the jury found Jean Diaz De La Rosa (age 27) guilty of two counts of first-degree child abuse.


The defendant will be sentenced at a later date in Providence Superior Court.


“This Office prosecutes thousands of cases every year, and yet there are some that still leave one searching for words. 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. Justice has arrived yesterday, and deservedly so,” said Attorney General Neronha. “I am enormously grateful to the jury for its guilty verdict and look forward to sentencing in this case. 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.”


At trial, the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that in February 2017, the defendant physically abused his four-month-old son, causing multiple serious injuries.


On February 13, 2017, members of the Johnston Police Department responded to a report of suspect child abuse following an evaluation of the defendant’s son at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Following their evaluation, medical personnel at the hospital determined that the defendant’s four-month-old son suffered from seven fractures in both of his legs including a significant fracture to the child's left hip and right tibia, and three additional fractures in his shoulders.


Doctors at the Aubin Child Protection Center at Hasbro found that the 10 fractures were indicative of child abuse and that two or more traumatic incidents occurred.


At the time, hospital staff also alerted the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) of suspected child abuse. Subsequently, the infant was placed into DCYF care.


“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 Vieira. “Our thoughts are with the victim and his family at this time, and hope that this verdict can bring a sense of justice to them, following an incredibly traumatic experience.”


Special Assistant Attorneys General Jonathan Burke and Meagan Thomson of the Office of the Attorney General and Detectives Brian Loffredi (Ret.), Christopher DeCesare (Ret.), and Michael Edwards of the Johnston Police Department led the investigation and prosecution of the case.



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