Dad DUSTIN LAUENER has been charged with 1st-degree assault for violently shaking his 2-month-old son. These kinds of injuries are more often called abusive head trauma these days, and the research consistently shows that fathers are the major perpetrators.
Injured Baby's Father Arrested
December 1, 2010
By Stacia Kalinoski
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- A Springfield infant is still hospitalized four days after police say his father abused him.
Springfield police arrested the father Tuesday afternoon on a charge of first-degree assault.
Springfield Police Sergeant David Lewis says the infant's mother and father took him to McKenzie-Willamette on Sunday where staff called police because of the baby's injuries.
Sgt. Lewis says medical information led them to arrest Dustin Lauener, 21, of Springfield.
The baby's injuries were so severe, the two-month-old had to be transferred to Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland.
A relative of the suspect says the infant has since been transferred to another children's hospital, and says the baby is doing better.
She says the incident was an accident, but while Sgt. Lewis won't yet release what the injuries entail, he says the hospital reports it's consistent with the baby being shaken.
"It's about 50-50 with these injuries sometimes, and then there's always complications down the road with their quality of life," said Sgt. David Lewis, Springfield Police.
"You have to shake a baby very hard for that brain to move inside that head...You don't get accidentally injured this way. To cause the type of damage you have to be very violent to do this kind of shaking. I mean, this type of shaking is a violent act," said Nancy Bischofs, Healthy Start Program Manager.
Bischofs says just a few years ago, shaking babies wasn't always recognized as child abuse.
Lane County DHS District Manager John Radich says there are usually fewer than 10 of these cases a year, so few the agency doesn't track them.
Bischofs says if babies survive this type of abuse, known as Shaken Baby Syndrome, they often suffer brain damage, blindness, seizures, or severe behavioral problems.
Sergeant Lewis says the mother of the child is in Portland with her son.
Investigators don't think she had any role in the injuries.
Lauener is lodged at the Lane County Jail.