Court officer released on bail in domestic violence case

Mar. 23—SALEM — A Lawrence District Court officer charged with domestic abuse last month was released on bail Monday following a review hearing in Salem Superior Court.

While Judge Salim Rodriguez Tabit found John Hernandez of Lawrence a danger to his alleged victim and society, he was released on several conditions.

In addition to posting $100 bail, Hernandez must wear a GPS monitoring device, stay away from Ipswich and two Lawrence addresses, have no contact with the alleged victim, maintain employment and other conditions, according to an Essex District Attorney's Office spokesperson.

Hernandez is due back in Newburyport District Court on April 23 for a pretrial hearing. The case against Hernandez was transferred from Lawrence District Court, where he works, to Newburyport to avoid a conflict of interest.

In late February, Newburyport District Court Judge William Martin denied Hernandez's attempt to be released pending trial after finding him to be too dangerous to the alleged victim. But under state law, Hernandez had the right to appeal the decision during a bail review hearing in Superior Court.

Hernandez, 38, was charged with domestic assault and battery, kidnapping and intimidation of a witness after an incident at his home.

At the hearing in Newburyport last month, an Essex County prosecutor said there has been a string of domestic abuse-related incidents involving Hernandez and a woman since 2017.

The woman tried to report those incidents to police but stopped each time, fearing Hernandez would lose his job and then seek retribution against her.

When told Hernandez was going to be charged following the incident, she told the court "he's going to kill me," according to Assistant District Attorney Erin McAndrews.

But Hernandez's attorney, Socrates De La Cruz, said Essex County prosecutors misrepresented the woman's statements to police so much so that she hired an attorney to represent her. He told Martin that she would not press charges and wanted the case dropped.

The woman and her attorney were among those in the audience. They were seen in the lobby speaking to De La Cruz after the hearing.

Dave Rogers is a staff writer with The Daily News. Email him at: drogers@newburyportnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.