Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dad arrested for abusing 2-month-old daughter; baby has life-threatening injuries (Great Falls, Montana)

Dad is identified as DUSTY ANDERSON.

Great Falls father arrested on child abuse charge

Eric Dietrich, 12:52 p.m. MDT October 9, 2014

A Great Falls man was arrested Wednesday on a felony child abuse charge for allegedly causing injuries that saw his 2-month-old daughter flown to Seattle for treatment of life-threatening injuries.

Dusty Anderson, 29, is charged in Cascade County District Court with a single count of assault on a minor. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison under a statute amended by the 2013 Montana Legislature to toughen penalties for abuse inflicted on children under 3 years of age.

According to charging documents, the infant was brought to the Benefis Health System emergency room at about 2:45 a.m. Aug. 28 by Anderson and the baby’s mother, Tristan McClure. At that time, the child reportedly had bruises on her neck and arms, significant internal injuries to her abdomen and would not lower her arms.

Anderson, who had been caring for the child the previous afternoon while McClure went to an appointment, claimed that he had dropped and caught the baby while giving her a bath, documents say. Medical staff, suspecting abuse, called police.

After the infant was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for treatment, she was diagnosed with a life-threatening liver laceration and both new and healing rib fractures, according to court documents. The existence of multiple bone fractures in various stages of healing is often considered evidence of repeated abuse over time in child abuse cases.

McClure reported that the infant had been “acting funny” after she returned from her appointment, breathing differently while she slept, being disinterested in food and crying more than normal, especially when she was picked up or moved. Court documents say that McClure also told police that she noticed the baby had new bruises.

Anderson allegedly told McClure not to worry about the injuries and discouraged her from seeking medical attention for the child. McClure reportedly took the child to the hospital at the encouragement of a friend, with Anderson joining her.

Police say that Anderson and McClure had moved in together about three months before the child’s hospitalization, had broken up, and since moved back in with each other.

A search warrant executed on their residence at 1715 10th Ave. N. in Great Falls allegedly found drug paraphernalia in the home, some within feet of the infant’s crib. Both parents admitted to smoking marijuana on the day the injuries occurred, court documents say, and a urine test from McClure reportedly tested positive for methamphetamine and THC.

Anderson refused to provide a urine test, documents say, and the results of a court-ordered blood and hair sample are pending. Anderson was arrested Wednesday on a $30,000 warrant. He was set to make an initial court appearance Thursday.

Cascade County court records do not indicate that any felony charges have been filed against McClure in the matter.

The condition of the child wasn’t immediately available.