- Associated Press - Thursday, February 11, 2016

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. (AP) - A Massachusetts man has pleaded guilty to charges he tortured and abused his stepdaughters over a five-year period.

Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office says 35-year-old Justin Ladd pleaded guilty Wednesday to 32 counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, open and gross lewdness and other offenses. He was sentenced to four to five years in prison.

Prosecutors say the North Andover man hit the two girls, now ages 15 and 17, with a hammer and pieces of wood. They say he demeaned their Dominican heritage, forced them to do a Nazi salute and ordered them to dance like monkeys.

Prosecutors say Ladd’s wife pleaded guilty to allowing some of the acts of abuse to take place in her presence.

The teens have been placed in foster care.

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