HASTINGS, Minn. - A West St. Paul man is charged with first degree assault after his baby girl was discovered with skull fractures and other significant injuries.
A criminal complaint accuses 26-year-old Michael Joseph Mason of shaking the infant violently and bouncing her head off the floor in his apartment.
The alleged abuse was uncovered after a Twin Cities hospital called West St. Paul police on February 18 and told them a 4-month-old girl had been brought in with significant head trauma. Mason, the child's father, had told medical personnel he had tripped while carrying the little girl and that her head may have struck a baby swing.
Mason told the hospital staff that the child began crying so he consoled her and then attempted to feed her, but the baby threw the food up.
A medical examination indicated three or four skull fractures, and severe hemorrhaging in both eyes. Doctors believed the child had suffered high impact on the skull and forceful shaking.
When questioned by police Mason admitted shaking the child in what he called "a playful manner." When pressed by a detective he admitted rocking the baby so her head slammed on the floor. At one point Mason told police that his daughter became unconscious for between 10 and 20 minutes. He said he panicked and dropped the child on the ground two more times.
Mason also told detectives that he had been upset with his wife because she had misplaced his car keys and didn't want to pay a $300 tow fee.
If convicted Michael Joseph Mason faces the potential of 20 years in prison and up to a $30,000 fine.
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