GLEN JOHNSON

The Associated Press

LOWELL, Mass. (AP) -A Massachusetts woman charged with locking her 3-year-old son in a filthy, sweltering attic had been arrested previously for assault and battery with a knife.

Kirsten Paquette, 27, was arraigned Friday on charges of reckless endangerment to a child and assault and battery on a child. She was held on $10,000 bail.

Her family and attorney portrayed the Lowell woman as an overwhelmed mother dealing with an especially unruly child. The boy's siblings told police, "Mommy does this when she gets angry."

Court records show Paquette was arrested in 2004 after a fight with a man. She was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Photos in the file showed a carving-style knife.

The case was continued without a finding. Paquette was placed on probation.