Sunday, July 19, 2009

Justin Patrick Hanson Charged with Child Abuse on 2-year-old

A South Salt Lake man faces up to 60 years in prison after disturbing medical evidence suggested he severely abused a toddler during several episodes of discipline over a two-week period while the child's mother, the man's girlfriend, was out of the house.

Prosecutors charged 20-year-old Justin Patrick Hanson with four counts of second-degree felony child abuse Friday, according to documents filed in 3rd District Court.

The 2-year-old boy and his mother moved in with Hanson and his mother two weeks ago and she would occasionally leave Hanson to babysit her young boy, the document said.

A week into the new living arrangement, scratches and red marks started appearing on the child, the mother told police.

Then this week, she arrived home from a brief visit to the store two days ago to find her two-year-old boy vomiting.

Hanson discouraged his girlfriend from taking the toddler to the hospital, because he said hospital officials "would think he had injured" the child. But she admitted the toddler into Primary Children's Medical Center anyway, the document states.

There, a doctor determined the boy "sustained blunt force trauma to the abdominal area with significant injury to numerous internal organs including the pancreas, liver, gall bladder and lower bowels," the document says.

Due to "severe blows to the lower abdomen" levels of a digestive enzyme in the toddler's pancreas soared from a healthy-high of 130 to 2,038, a 1,468 percent increase, the doctor told investigators.

Elevated enzymes also indicated "traumatic injury" to the child's liver, the doctor reported.

"The gall bladder rests under the liver and could only be damaged by a severe amount of force such as a blow or sequence of blows to the body," the reported said. Several other organs, including the intestines, were determined to be swollen and bleeding.

Child Protective Services called police on Wednesday at 10:40 p.m. after examining the child when he arrived at the hospital, and an hour later South Salt Lake Police officers transported Hanson to their station for questioning.

During Hanson's interview, in which he told police he was the "disciplinarian," he told detectives he "didn't do this on purpose" and said, "If I put these (injuries) on the kid I'm sorry, I didn't mean to do it," the document said.

"And last," the statement said, the doctor, "observed bruising on (the child's) eyelids, anterior abdomen, back, sides, both ears, both sides of mouth, face, forehead and temporal area consistent with physical abuse."

Officers booked him into jail in lieu of $75,000 bail according to court documents and South Salt Lake Police Sgt. Matt Budd.

Budd did not know the toddler's current medical condition.

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