"Caregiver" stepdad WALTER LEE HALE has been charged with malicious punishment of a child. The charge is in connection to an incident that left a 6-year-old girl with a fractured arm.
Child’s injuries lead to criminal charges against FL man
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Cliff Buchan News Editor
Injuries to a child in Forest Lake have led to a felony charge of malicious punishment of a child against the child’s step-father.
Chief of Police Clark Quiring this week said Walter Lee Hale, 24, of 1440 SE 4th St., has been charged in connection with an incident that left his six-year-old step-daughter with a fractured arm.
Hale was arrested and booked into the Washington County Jail in Stillwater on Thursday, Aug. 6.
The arrest stems from an initial investigation by Forest Lake police in October of 2008 which resulted in no criminal charges.
On July 24 of this year, police were notified by Washington County Social Services regarding a complaint made to the county office by the Midwest Children’s Resource Center concerning a six-month-old male suffering from chronic acute hematoma, according to the criminal complaint filed in the case.
The follow-up police investigation of the six-month-old injuries led police to learn of injuries to the six-year-old girl, the complaint indicates.
According to the complaint, Hale and the girl’s mother said the arm injury was caused by a fall from the top of a bunk bed in the home. Hale had at times been living in the mother’s residence in the 800 block of SW 12th St. and serving as caregiver to the children, the complaint said.
Subsequent interviews with additional individuals led police to determine that the defendant had thrown the girl against the wall of the residence on SW 12th Street resulting in her arm being broken, the complaint said.
Two individuals interviewed by police said Hale indicated to them that he went “too far” and admitted that the cause of the girl’s injury was from Hale pulling the girl off the bed, the complaint said.
During an interview with police investigators, Hale said he recalled hearing a thump while he was downstairs. When he went to the bedroom, he said he found the girl lying on the floor, the complaint said. According to the complaint, the defendant stated he might have grabbed or pulled the girl’s arm too hard while in the bedroom.
The formal charge against Hale is felony malicious punishment of a child-substantial bodily harm for the alleged use of unreasonable force or cruel discipline against a child.
If found guilty in a court of law, Hale could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $10,000. Court dates are pending.