Minn. Woman Gets 7.5 Years For Child’s Injuries

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — A St. Cloud woman who pleaded guilty to seriously injuring her infant son has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison.

Crystal Lee Tjernagel pleaded guilty to third-degree assault and malicious punishment of a child. The 27-year-old was sentenced Friday.

Her 6-month-old was hospitalized in September with seizures. Doctors said the boy had bleeding around his brain that was consistent with child abuse.

Tjernagel told investigators she’d been bouncing the boy roughly on her knee. She said their heads collided and the boy grew quiet, eventually growing limp.

She later acknowledged to police that she may have shaken the boy.

The St. Cloud Times says she was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison.

A telephone number for her attorney couldn’t immediately be found Saturday.

  • Jeri

    Baby shaking syndrom is something that people think only good caring mothers can avoid-so when it happens like in this situation-then the mother must not have loved her baby. But when things become that overwhelming and a baby is crying for a long period of time, mother’s can snap. It does NOTt mean that she planned to hurt him. Education on how to handle the situation before the stress gets that intense is the key. Some people don’t know how to handle it when they find themselves in that situation, and it ends badly. It is sad, but not an isolated incident.

    • captainobvious

      Where does it state she shook the baby? she claims they bumped each others heads, read the story 1st, you and Michelle may be the least clueless people on this earth.

      • MoreObvious

        “She later acknowledged to police that she may have shaken the boy.”

        Did you read the story?

        • captainobvious

          She may have shook the baby. Glad to see you think this means the baby was shaken for sure and this caused the injury, that wasn’t my 1st comment im just shocked at those trying to stick up for worthless mother, prolly a family member of yours

          • Jeri

            Who is the clueless one? I’d rather be on the so called “clueless” side of this-which is actually called empathy, not cluelessness, than the angry side you come from.To call another person “worthless”, which of whom you have never met is a clear form of cluelessness because you base this statement off of something she did. You are clueless to what stress people may be under in certain moments and don’t handle them the way that “you would have” apparently. My point earlier was that for you to call her “trash” and “worthless” was wrong no matter what she did, and your opinion holds no truth because the article gave few details to indicate she IS any of those things. That is how you based your conclusion, mine is based on giving her the benefit of the doubt. These other people who are “sticking up for her”, can relate to the frustration that can and does momentarily overwhelm mothers. And have your raised any children? You seem easily displeased, angered- and your main gripe seems mostly about how these situations when they happen, effect what your tax money is paying for. I agree to disagree with you.

  • Michele

    Very well said, Jeri. I wonder how this sentence is going to serve ANYBODY. We’re going to be paying for her board, she probably won’t get the intervention she needs to deal with parenting issues or anger or whatever, and the child is going to be without its mother.

    As for those who will want to accuse me of being a soft-heart liberal, are YOU willing to take on this poor, damaged kid in a foster care situation? No, I thought not.

    • lmj

      Yes I would pay for her prison sentence. Letting her go free to take care of a potentially special needs childs with seizures or developmental delay (both outcomes of shaken baby syndrome) when she couldn’t handle a normal child to begin with would be an irresponsible decision. The baby will be in someone else’s care no matter what happened to the mother. What if this was your child shaken by a day care provider? Would you want justice? Harming a person of any age in wrong. Assault is assault at any age. If she harmed an elderly, as defenseless, person that caused the sam e injuries, should she not be held accoutable for her actions? I have children and I admit that I have become frustrated with a crying baby to the point that I placed the infant in the crib and walked outside the house for a few minutes to relieve some frustration and stress. You don’t need education to figure that out.

    • captainobvious

      Now a child will be without its mother? geez do you breathe on your own, your a piece of work, so you say give mom a light sentence and hand her baby back to her, please speak before you talk its embarassing to humankind

  • lmj

    I work at an area hospital that services children and I look at it like this. If this person would have harmed an elderly person as defensless as this infant due to frustration (as Jeri has said), should she be able to go free and not be held accoutable for her actions? Harming a person of any age is wrong. This also applies to when a child dies due to child abuse. In most cases the perpetrator gets a slap on the hand, a fine and probabtion. Murder is murder no matter the age of the victim. It is good to see that in this case the law actually was on the side of the victim. The way it should be.

  • have to have consequences

    Hey, Michelle

    You are liberal! So waht leave the kid with the mom because you don’t want to pay for it??? She has to pay for it and now so will her kid, sadly- probably forever. You still cannot leave the kld with the mother- most idiotic thing I have read in some time and I never comment!

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