Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dad convicted of abusing infant son during 1st weekend visitation; child has severe neurological disabilities (Bourg, Louisiana)

We've followed this case from the beginning. Dad PAUL DION has finally been sent to prison for 30 years for what he did to his infant son. Once again, we have to question why a father like Dion would get visitation with an infant this young. Babies in particular do not benefit from being passed around like a hot potato from caretaker to caretaker.

Also notice that there is "amnesia" in this particular story about Daddy's backstory. Dion actually has a history of domestic violence and violating the mother's order of protection. But some fruitcake FR-friendly judge gave him visitation with a helpless infant anyway. The results, seen here, were totally and horribly predictable. But of course THAT judge's name is kept out of the papers....



Father convicted of child cruelty gets 30 years

By Katie Urbaszewski
Staff Writer
Published: Friday, April 13, 2012 at 1:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 13, 2012 at 1:52 p.m.

A Bourg father convicted of shaking his baby son so hard it resulted in brain damage was sentenced Friday to 30 years behind bars.

Paul Dion Jr., 46, faced up to 40 years for the second-degree cruelty to a juvenile conviction, the sentence that Prosecutor Mark Rhodes had asked district Judge George Larke Jr. to hand down.
Dion's attorney, Anthony Marshall, said his client would appeal.

Dion, convicted in November, violently shook his son Spencer during a 2009 weekend visitation. Spencer, now 2, has severe neurological disabilities as a result of the abuse.

Dion fled the courtroom on the last day of his trial, telling his family and attorney that “he didn't want to go to jail.” He was found guilty in absentia and captured days later at a family member's New Orleans home.

Dion was also sentenced to six months on a contempt charge for fleeing the courthouse, but he was given credit for time served.

“I don't believe in the prosecutorial strategy of ‘Only give me the maximum sentence,' ” Rhodes told the judge in open court, adding he could count on one hand the number of times he has demanded the maximum.

“It's the message that needs to be sent,” Rhodes said. “I know there is not much difference between a 30-year and a 40-year sentence. He probably won't make it to 40 years. But it's the message.”

Spencer suffered extensive brain damage and blindness consistent with shaken-baby syndrome. The boy's mother, Melissa Thibodeaux of Lafourche Crossing, has said the weekend that Spencer was abused marked the first time Dion had taken the boy for an overnight visit.

Dion's actions “destroyed” the lives of Thibodeaux, her family and Spencer, and they will be emotionally and financially burdened for the rest their lives, Rhodes told the judge.

Thibodeaux, reading from a prepared statement, also asked Larke for the maximum sentence.

“What's 40 years compared with the two life sentences we are serving?” she said.

Doctors have said that Spencer Dion will be in and out of the hospital for the rest of his life; Medicaid covers his medical expenses, Thibodeaux said.

Rhodes said he believes Larke avoided the maximum punishment to ensure the sentence is not viewed as excessive on appeal.

Dion, who spoke just prior to the judge's sentence announcement, once again denied harming the boy. He said there were no bruises on the boy's body, an allegation the judge disputed, and that the child had health problems prior to that day