NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) - A man and woman accused of trying to hang a nine year-old girl with her own jump rope appeared in a Northampton courtroom Tuesday.
Megan Bonny and Lance Gouvan appeared in court for a dangerousness hearing, less than a week after the alleged incident on Pomeroy Terrace.
Northampton Police Capt. Scott Savino told 22News that on Thursday afternoon, Bonny and Gouvan saw the girl playing with her jump rope outside the Cutchins Programs for Children and Families . He says Bonny told Gouvan to take the girl's jump rope and tie her up with it.
Gouvan then allegedly grabbed the girl by her hair and dragged her about to an area with overhanging branches, pulled her by the hair again, and tied one end of the jump rope around her neck, the other end around the tree branch. The two then allegedly left her hanging, supported only by her tiptoes.
A Cutchins employee rescued the girl, who was not badly hurt. "She was just standing there very scared, appeared scared and she had a rope around her neck," said Adam Hargraves during the dangerousness hearing Tuesday afternoon.
Based on a description the girl gave police, Gouvan and Bonny were caught a short time later, and charged with attempted murder, kidnapping of a child, assault and battery, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
According to Savino , while they were being arrested last week, Bonny and Gouvan listed their addresses as "the streets of Northampton."
Prosecutors argued that both defendants were a flight risk. Gouvan and Bonny's lawyers say the girl's identifying the physical appearance of the suspects is not accurate; and that the case "hinges on the word of one troubled young girl."
Patricia Jenkins is a child therapist in Northampton who says the girl's testimony should be taken seriously.
"There are certain instances where kids do embellish things where people do embellish things. I think it takes a lot of scrutiny to kind of really listen to what the kid is saying. And I think that everyone should always air on the side of giving the kid a lot of room to explain just what happened," said Jenkins inside her Northampton office.
In court on Tuesday, Gouvan was ordered held without the right to bail, while Bonny was granted $2,500 cash bail provided she wears a tracking bracelet and remains confined to her parents' home in Agawam.
Mary Carey of the Northwestern District Attorney's Office told 22News that Bonny and Gouvan admitted to having seen the victim in the field behind Cutchins, but they said they did not tie her to a tree.
The Cutchins Center must provide a detailed report of the incident to the Department of Elementary & Secondary Education in the next two weeks.