MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — St. Paul man Jeremy Dean Berg, 38, has been charged with malicious punishment of a child and child endangerment after severely injuring his newborn infant this month.
The infant was in his father’s care almost daily and sometimes stayed overnight, according to the criminal complaint. The baby was born two weeks premature on Aug. 20, 2019.
Doctors diagnosed the infant with potentially life-threatening injuries including a skull fracture, shearing internal injuries, a lacerated spleen, bleeding in the brain and spine, and many cuts and bruises. The injuries to the 8-week-old are said to have occurred between Oct. 1 and Oct. 15.
The criminal complaint said the baby has a 50% chance of surviving, according to doctors.
Initially Berg said the baby’s injuries were caused by his 2-year-old son, but eventually admitted to causing the injuries. Berg said he has dropped the infant on the carpet while changing his diaper, pressed his hand over the infant’s mouth to stop him from crying, and “disciplined” the infant on the genitals, the complaint stated
The complaint also states Berg admitted to throwing the infant on the couch and repeatedly driving a car with the infant on his lap. One one occasion while driving with the baby on his lap, Berg said he exited his truck when the baby has fell several feet to the pavement and landed on his head. Berg admitted to then shaking the infant back and forth violently before forcefully and repeatedly pressing down on the infant’s chest, the complaint said.
Berg said the infant seemed “lifeless” and that he should have tried to catch the baby upon falling out of the vehicle, but he never called 911 or asked anyone for help.
Berg complained about the infant’s crying and said he had an “attitude” and “acted like a baby,” the complaint said. He admitted to forcibly squeezing the baby’s hand if it “got in the way” of bottle feeding.
The 35-year-old mother, who shares three children with Berg, denied knowing her infant had been injured and said she did not cause any injury to the baby. The mother said Berg sometimes has a bad temper that scares her. She said Berg never hit her and described him as “very manipulative,” the criminal complaint said.
The mother said Berg tried to keep her from taking the infant to the hospital several times and that he refused to go to the ER with them.
The complaint stated Berg wanted to tell the mother how sorry he was for hurting the baby and said he hasn’t been feeling stable lately. He said he never meant to hurt the baby and that he hopes the baby “is okay and doesn’t get any bad effects from this.” He said the mother did not abuse the baby.
The criminal complaint states Berg has five children with two women and is unemployed.
The total maximum charge for malicious punishment of a child under 4 years old is 15 years.