A father of a 3-week-old infant will spend five to ten years in prison for injuring the child.
Jackson, Michigan, resident Lawrence Rinesmith, 27, was found guilty of second-degree child abuse on Oct. 12, reports Michigan Live.
He was originally charged with one count of first-degree child abuse, but accepted a plea bargain after confessing to injuring his son at home in Oct. 2015.
Initially, he tried to explain away the injuries, as summarized by the law firm Kronzek and Cronkright, which specializes in children’s protective services defense:
According to court records, Rinesmith has provided a number of explanations for the baby’s injuries since his arrest. In one he claims to have lifted the baby’s legs while changing his diaper, only to hear a loud popping sound, like a knuckle cracking. In another he explained that he was lifting the baby out of the bathtub to clean out his mouth when the little boy’s arm hit the faucet.
Police who responded to the scene reported that Rinesmith’s son had multiple fractures to his arm, leg and ribs, according to court records.
Court records also reveal medical confirmation that the baby had a right tibia fracture, an existing break in his left forearm, a pulmonary contusion, fluid in his left lung and several rib fractures.
In addition, a suspected skull fracture was identified by university pediatrician Dr. Lisa Markman, who testified that although none of the child’s injuries were life-threatening, if left in the home she believed that his life was in danger.
Assistant Prosecuting attorney Steve Idema remarked: "This was a 3-week-old baby with these injuries. ... Thank goodness he didn't suffer these injuries when he was older when he would be able to remember everything that happened to him."
Jackson County Circuit Court Judge John McBain described it as “one of the worst abuse cases I have ever seen in all my years. ... When you look at the injuries to the child and the doctor's report, this wasn't an isolated incident."
Prior to sentencing, Rinesmith’s attorney, Alfred Brandt, read a letter prepared by his client, in which the defendant apologized for his actions and asked for the court to help him learn to care for his child.
The boy has since healed from his injuries and is doing well, said Idema.