Father guilty in abuse of baby

Jury convicts man, 24, on four related charges

3-month-old was severely injured

Circuit judge schedules sentencing for Sept. 13


July 21, 2004|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel County jury convicted a 24-year-old Annapolis man yesterday of child abuse and related charges for causing severe injuries to his 3-month- old daughter.

The father showed no emotion as the verdict convicting him of child abuse, second-degree assault, third-degree sex offense and reckless endangerment was read. The jury found him not guilty of first-degree assault.

"I think that's a fair verdict," said Laura S. Kiessling, the assistant state's attorney who prosecuted the case. "I think they clearly found that he was the one who committed his heinous crime."

The defense attorney, assistant public defender Elizabeth W. Palan, declined to comment. No family members were in court yesterday.

Judge Nancy Davis-Loomis scheduled sentencing for Sept. 13. The maximum prison term for child abuse is 15 years.

Because The Sun does not identify victims of sex crimes, the father and mother are not being identified.

The baby's injuries, many evident in photographs shown to jurors, included a broken pelvis and other bone fractures, genital wounds and a beating so severe that doctors initially thought that the skin damage indicated severe burns. Some injuries were fresh, while others were a few weeks older, according to testimony from physicians who treated the infant. The baby was hospitalized for 20 days.

The father babysat while his girlfriend, the baby's mother, with whom he lived, worked two jobs. He "felt she was spoiling the baby" by carrying her often and having the baby sleep with her in bed, while he was relegated to sleeping in the living room, Kiessling told the jury of eight men and four women.

The prosecutor said that the more the man harmed the baby in March and April last year, the fussier the infant grew, and the more frustrated he got.

On April 6 last year, the mother showed what she thought was an aggravated diaper rash to a cousin, and they took the baby to a doctor. When they returned, the man and his belongings were gone. He later was found at his mother's home, according to testimony.

The defendant did not testify and called no witnesses. But Palan argued that there was no evidence of who injured the baby. She said the mother also had regular access to the baby during the time period and tried to take the focus of police off herself by blaming her boyfriend.

Palan told jurors that the mother gave "self-serving testimony" in court, often replying to defense questions by saying she did not remember.

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