Cecil County man charged with Child Abuse; accused of shaking baby
April 02, 2020
CECIL COUNTY, MD – A man is facing felony child abuse charges after he allegedly shook a 5-month-old baby in his Cecil County household, causing significant injury to the infant’s brain, according to charging documents.
Investigators identified the suspect as 57-year-old Paul Frederick Herd Sr., who remained in the Cecil County Detention Center without bond on Thursday, two days after his bail review hearing, court records show.
Herd is charged with first-degree child abuse resulting in severe physical injury, first-degree assault and second-degree custodial child abuse – all of which are felonies – in addition to three misdemeanor offenses, according to Cecil County District Court records.
“At this time, it is impossible to know what long term effects will be; however, portions of the brain were deprived oxygen due to the hemorrhaging,” Cecil County Sheriff’s Office Det. Chase Arminger, lead investigator, outlines in his written statement of probable cause filed on Tuesday.
The investigation started on March 19, when Arminger responded to Nemours A.I. DuPont Children’s Hospital in Wilmington, Del., after physicians there alerted that they were treating a 5-month-old baby for “injuries consistent with physical abuse,” police said.
Doctors reported that the infant was “actively seizing with no medical explanation,” that a CAT scan revealed the infant was suffering from “acute and chronic” bleeding inside the head; and that a retinal scan indicated “significant (bleeding) in both eyes,” police added.
“The ruptured blood vessels in the retinal area were too numerous to count. Medical professionals advised (that) the injuries present were inconsistent with the explanation given at the time the infant was presented to the medical staff. Det. Arminger was advised that the mechanism of injury was physical abuse consistent with shaking, unless or until, proven otherwise,” according to court records.
That prompted Arminger to conduct separate interviews with five other people who were living in the house with the baby – the infant’s mother, the mother’s boyfriend and the mothers’s two other children, who are elementary-school aged, police reported.
The mother told Arminger that the baby and her two other children had been left in the sole care of Herd on March 14 and again on March 17, police said. The mother also told the investigator that she noticed a change in the baby’s behavior on March 16, police added.
“The infant was refusing (its) bottle, sleeping off and on, and being abnormally fussy. Through March 16 through March 18, the infant’s condition continued to deteriorate, prompting the mother to schedule an appointment with a pediatrician,” court records show.
On the morning of March 19, however, the baby started seizing and, after consulting the pediatrician on the phone, the mother called 911 — resulting in an ambulance crew driving the infant to A.I. DuPont Children’s Hospital, police reported.
The mother’s boyfriend, during his separate interview, gave a similar account of when Herd was alone with the baby and the other two children in the house, police said. He, too, also told Arminger that the baby had been moody and had a diminished appetite, police added.
In addition, according to court records, the mother’s boyfriend reported that he noticed a small bruise on the baby’s face on the night of March 17 and that he was unsure of the cause.
The mother’s boyfriend also noted Herd had told him that, on March 14, one of the elementary-aged children had tripped over the baby while the infant was on the floor — an incident that occurred while all three children were in Herd’s sole care, court records show.
During their separate interviews, the elementary-aged children gave similar accounts of Herd’s alleged reaction after the tripping incident took place, police said.
The older of the two children described Herd as “mad” at the sibling who had tripped over the baby, police added.
That older child told Arminger that Herd then picked up the infant and “shook her up and down saying, ‘It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay’,” court records allege.
The younger of the two elementary-aged children told the investigator that Herd picked up the baby and “moved (the infant) up and down” while saying, “It’s okay, it’s okay.”
During his interview, Herd told investigators that the tripping incident occurred on March 17, not March 14, and that the baby was not injured and was “doing fine” and “taking bottles normally,” police reported.
When asked about the events of the March 13-15 weekend, according to court records, investigators noticed a “significant behavior change” in Herd. Investigators observed Herd “look away and appear withdrawn while giving answers to specific questions,” police reported.
Herd denied watching the baby and the two older children over the March 13-15 weekend, until detectives shared details given during other interviews, police said. At that point, police added, Herd “admitted to watching the children, but only for 30 minutes.”
When asked to detail what occurred right before and directly after the baby’s mother called 911 on morning of March 19, Herd told investigators that the infant was “barely conscious,” and that he attempted to help the baby while waiting for the ambulance, police reported.
“I (Herd) kept holding (the baby’s hands) and keeping (the baby) alert, because I know when you have a concussion, you don’t go to sleep,” according to court records, which further allege, “(Herd) would have had no knowledge the infant had a head injury at the time 911 was contacted unless there was prior knowledge of the mechanism of injury.”
Arminger arrested Herd on Tuesday, court records show.
Daycare worker arrested, charged with
2 counts of aggravated Child Abuse
BRANDON, FL – A daycare worker in Brandon was arrested on Friday for two counts of aggravated child abuse, officials say.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office say on Dec. 18, the parents of an infant took their child to the pediatrician when the baby turned pale in color and began throwing up. The baby spent the say attending Shepherd Day Care at 208 Terrace Drive in Brandon.
The infant was in the sole care and custody of 20-year-old Sarah Loria at the daycare.
The pediatrician initially diagnosed the baby with a stomach virus.
On Dec. 20, when Loria was caring for the baby, the infant became unresponsive. Loria then contacted the parent’s who transported the baby to a local hosital.
After an evaluation, it was confirmed that the infant suffered from shaken baby syndrome from both incidents.
On Friday, detectives with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office located and arrested Loria for two counts of aggravated child abuse.
She was transported to the Orient Road Jail without incident.
Battle Creek stepmother charged with
Child Abuse of twin girls
BATTLE CREEK, MI – A Battle Creek stepmother is facing up to life in prison if convicted of child abuse of twin sisters.
Ashley Swartout, 25, was arraigned Thursday in Calhoun County District Court on one count of first-degree child abuse and one count of second-degree child abuse.
She faces up to life in prison on the first-degree charge and 10 years in prison on the second-degree charge.
Swartout was arrested Monday after Battle Creek police obtained a warrant following an investigation which began Dec. 16.
Police said Swartout and her husband, Nathaniel Callahan, 28, the father of the twin seven-year-old girls, brought one of the children to Bronson Battle Creek hospital at 9:49 p.m. Dec. 16 for treatment.
Doctors notified police after finding severe bruising and swelling to both sides of the girl’s face as well as bruises on her arms, front and back of her torso and a bloody lower lip.
The girl said her stepmother was angry because the child was not doing her chores and grabbed her by the hair and banged her head against the walls and floor. The girl said the woman also twisted her arm behind her back and told the girl she would break it.
Swartout told police she has seizures and does not recall the incident. She said she remembers being angry at the girl about homework and chores but blacked out and remembers nothing until she was on the bathroom floor and her husband was over her.
Callahan told police his wife has a long history of seizures and doctors have been unable to diagnose the cause. She is not able to have a driver’s license because of the condition.
However the girl said her stepmother was talking to her when the reported assault first began and then had a seizure and began to throw up.
Callahan came home from work and both he and Swarthout took the girl to the hospital.
North Texas hotels ignore sex trafficking,
exploitation of children, lawsuit says
Three national hotel chains are accused of being complicit in sex trafficking at hotels across the country including various ones in North Texas, according to a federal lawsuit filed in Dallas this week.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a woman identified as F.M. who says she was sexually exploited at North Texas hotels beginning when she was 4 years old. The woman is now in her 20s and lives in Tarrant County.
The lawsuit, filed by Houston-based Lanier Law Firm on Monday, includes Best Western, Hyatt and Red Lion hotels, and says that the companies ignored criminal activity occurring on their property and failed to protect victims of sex trafficking from exploitation.
“The hotel industry plays a crucial role in the sex trade,” said Lanier Law Firm founder Mark Lanier in a statement released Wednesday. “For too long, the industry has profited by looking the other way when sex trafficking has been happening right in front of them. We’re filing this lawsuit to get some justice for victims and to let these businesses know that their lack of action is unacceptable.”
In a statement Wednesday, BWH Hotel Group said, “Best Western International, Inc. condemns human trafficking. It is a despicable crime and the criminals who intentionally inflict this suffering on their victims should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Best Western supports the industry’s efforts to raise awareness and fight against this inhumane and horrific crime.
“While Best Western branded hotels are independently owned and operated, we require that each member hotel complies with all laws and treats all hotel guests consistent with our core values of integrity, honesty, and respect for others’ dignity,” the statement continued. “We provide information and training resources to member hotels on this serious issue such that hotels can educate their staff about how to recognize and report instances of trafficking.”
Officials at Red Lion and Hyatt could not be reached Wednesday for comment.
The suit specifically names Best Western Plus DFW Airport Suites, Hyatt House Dallas/Frisco, Best Western Irving Inn & Suites at DFW Airport, and the America’s Best Value Inn Irving/Dallas.
Sex trafficking generates an estimated $99 billion each year, making it the second-largest illicit crime industry behind the sale of illegal drugs, according to the lawsuit. More than 60 percent of sex trafficking offenses occur in hotels, while eight out of 10 arrests for human trafficking occur in or around hotels, the lawsuit says.
VICTIM SAYS SHE WAS DRUGGED AND ASSAULTED FOR YEARS
In the lawsuit, F.M. gave this account of being exploited:
Her father, to sustain his drug addiction, sold her to traffickers in Irving for sex when she was 4.
She was given unidentified pills by her trafficker on average to five to 10 times each day, according to the lawsuit. Her traffickers would tie her and other children up and place them blindfolded in the back of a van.
When they arrived at a hotel, a hotel bellmen would be there to meet them and send them to assigned hotel rooms where buyers would be waiting for them, the lawsuit stated.
F.M. was bound, blindfolded and sent to rooms where “johns” were awaiting her and other children. She was then tied to a bed and sexually assaulted, according to the lawsuit.
From age 4 to 18, F.M. was trafficked to buyers for sex and abuse at the Best Western Plus DFW Airport Suites, the Best Western Irving Inn & Suites at DFW Airport in Irving and the Hyatt House Dallas/Frisco in Frisco, she said in the suit.
By the age of 20, F.M. was in the possession of her third trafficker and being trafficked at America’s Best Value Inn Irving/Dallas in Irving, the suit says.
She was advertised on Craigslist.com
At the age of 20, F.M. was hospitalized and could not work. Her trafficker punished her 2-year-old son by raping the child while F.M. watched, according to the lawsuit.
Her trafficker controlled her by making her dependent on methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana.
A number of nationwide campaigns recognized trafficking in the hotel industry and several hotel companies took initiative to combat the problem, but the lawsuit says Best Western, Hyatt and Red Lion have repeatedly failed to thwart sexual exploitation at their hotels.
The lawsuit listed some indicators of sex trafficking at a hotel. They include:
An excess of condoms in rooms.
Individuals carrying large amounts of cash.
Renting two rooms next door to each other.
Declining room service for several hours.
Men traveling with multiple women who appear unrelated.
Guests checking in with little or no luggage.
Women known to be staying in rooms without leaving.
Hotel guests who prevent another individual from speaking for themselves.
The lawsuit listed more than 20 incidents of arrests and rescues of people and children in sex trafficking or exploitation cases at hotels operated by Red Lion, Hyatt and Best Western.