Parents admit abuse, neglect of baby
September 7, 2010
The parents of a 5-month-old baby admitted abusing the child, but neither one would say who fractured their son’s skull or caused cuts and bruises.
Jeremy Taylor, 28, and Marie Youmans, 27, each pleaded guilty Tuesday to attempted child abuse or neglect causing substantial bodily harm. They face up to 10 years in prison at their sentencings Nov. 9, or could be eligible for probation if judged not to be at a high risk to re-offend.
District Judge Dave Gamble was adamant that the pair admit their part in the abuse of the baby, now 7 months old, who has been placed in a foster home.
“I need to know what happened to the child. I won’t accept a plea until I know who did what or we’re going to trial,” Gamble said.
The parents were arrested July 11 after they brought the baby to Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare because they said he had a rash.
An emergency room doctor said the infant had fractures of his skull, ribs, and arms, and burns on his buttocks and the heels and bottoms of his feet.
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His ears and face also were bruised.
The physician said the fractures were in stages of healing and could be one week to one month old, according to court documents.
Taylor admitted in court Tuesday he “may have cracked the child’s ribs” one night while under the influence of alcohol.
He said the baby was crying and he (Taylor) had sleep deprivation due to a backache and a toothache.
“I applied quite a bit of pressure on his ribs and may have cracked them,” he said.
On July 3, Taylor said he gave his son a bath. Taylor admitted he didn’t test the water, but the baby didn’t cry or indicate any pain or discomfort.
The next day, Taylor said, blisters appeared on the infant’s heels and buttocks.
“Were you drunk that night, too?” Gamble asked.
“Yes, sir,” Taylor said.
Taylor said he didn’t regularly test the water before giving the baby a bath.
“It makes me concerned how come there were blisters just on his buttocks and heel and not on the rest of his body,” Taylor said.
“It makes me concerned, too,” Gamble said.
Taylor denied fracturing the baby’s skull or arms. He said he had “no clue” as to how the child suffered bruises or abrasions.
“He always had abrasions on his face,” Taylor said.
“Has anybody talked to you about the difficulty involved in breaking a baby’s ribs?” Gamble asked. “And that’s what you did to your son?”
“Yes, sir,” Taylor said.
In pleading guilty, Youmans admitted she didn’t seek medical care for the baby.
“I didn’t take him to the hospital when he had the burns on his butt,” she said. “I didn’t know anything was broken until I saw the X-rays.”
“Are you taking the position that Mr. Taylor caused all the injuries to your son?” Gamble asked.
“She’s taking the position she didn’t cause the injuries,” said her lawyer, Kris Brown.
Gamble told Youmans he had pictures of the baby’s injures and he wanted to know what happened.
“I didn’t break his bones,” Youmans said. “I didn’t do it.”
Youmans said she wanted to take the baby to a doctor, but Taylor told her they would get in trouble if they did.
“Jeremy said we would go to jail and (the baby) would get taken away,” she said.
Youmans said Taylor and his mother got into an argument about the baby’s health.
“Jeremy said it was nobody’s business,” Youmans said.
She said she was asleep when Taylor allegedly burned the baby in the bath.
“I woke up and went to change him. I saw the blisters,” she said. “They didn’t look like burns, but as the day wore on, they got redder.”
Youmans said she didn’t want to fight with her husband about taking the baby to a doctor.
“Was your son injured as a result of abuse or neglect by the two of you?” Gamble asked. “Did he have substantial bodily harm?”
“Yes,” Youmans said.
Prosecutor Laurie Trotter said as severe as the injuries were to the baby, the serious threat to his life was failure to thrive.
“He was so severely underweight, he would have died,” Trotter said.
She credited Taylor’s parents with saving the baby’s life by insisting Youmans and Taylor take the baby to the hospital on July 11 and accompanying them.
Gamble refused to release the suspects on their own recognizance. They are in Douglas County Jail on $25,000 bail each.
“Despite these folks’ history in the community and their unlikelihood to be flight risks, my position is these people continue to be a danger to their child,” Gamble said.
In her application for Youmans’ release, Brown said Taylor constantly berated her for being a bad mother and telling her she was worthless and pathetic.
“She loves her child very much,” Brown said.
Lawyer Derrick Lopez, in seeking Taylor’s release, said “his primary goal was to earn the ability back to be a father to his child.”
He said Taylor had no prior record and had an older son with a different mother whom he never abused.
Lopez said his client wanted to participate in Alcoholics Anonymous and take parenting classes.
“He wants to be a father, he wants to turn his life around,” Lopez said.