Man pleads guilty to assault for shaking baby

Wednesday, September 5, 2012 | 6:04 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A 19-year-old man pleaded guilty to second-degree assault Wednesday afternoon for shaking and abusing his 8-week-old daughter.    

Jonathan Rainey, who was 18 when he was arrested on Jan. 31, was initially charged with second-degree assault and abuse of a child causing serious emotional stress. However, the Boone County Prosecutor's office dropped the second charge in exchange for Rainey’s guilty plea.

The infant had been shaken at least three times and suffered bleeding on the brain consistent with blunt-force trauma, according to police reports. She also suffered from bruising behind her left temple as well as an impact wound on her chest.

In court on Wednesday, Boone County Circuit Judge Christine Carpenter asked Rainey what he had purposefully done wrong to the infant.

“Uhh, I guess the shaking part,” Rainey responded.

When asked if he had struck the child, Rainey said that he had not. Rainey said that she fell out of a bed onto the floor and that he then shook her to wake her up.

Assistant prosecutor Andrea Hayes said that the medical evidence pointed to wounds consistent with a child that was struck, saying that there was “bruising externally that would indicate an impact.”

The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome estimates that between 1,200 and 1,400 children are injured or killed by shaking every year in the U.S. The injury is the result of the trauma to the brain.

Rainey faces up to seven years in prison, though the prosecutor’s office recommended four years.

Sentencing was set for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 22.

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