STILLWATER, Minn. (WCCO) – A South St. Paul man has pleaded guilty to assaulting a then 6-week-old child, breaking nearly all of the infant’s ribs.
Mark James Nelson, 32, entered his guilty plea in Washington County District Court.
Nelson was accused of assaulting the child after fighting with the baby’s mother last August. The criminal complaint said Nelson, who was dating the mother of the infant from Forest Lake, picked up the child and squeezed its torso until he heard cracking noises.
Doctors said 22 of the infant’s 24 ribs were broken and there were 37 separate fractures. Medical personnel at Hennepin County Medical Center also found bruising to the liver and lungs, all consistent with child abuse, according to the criminal complaint.
“The injuries this poor child suffered were absolutely horrendous, so horrendous that, when the guilty plea was entered, one of the onlookers in the courtroom, there on another case, when hearing the facts began to cry,” said Washington County Attorney Pete Orput.
Nelson will be sentenced on March 23. The standard sentencing guidelines for charges of this type call for up to eight and a half years in prison.