Man faces charges in assault of infant son
SHAMOKIN - A 27-year-old Shamokin man has been charged with fracturing his two-month-old son's skull and ribs by slamming him into a car seat.
Lawrence Beaver Jr., of 229 W. Sunbury St., is charged by Patrolman Shane Mowery with a felony of aggravated assault and misdemeanors of simple assault, endangering the welfare of a child and recklessly endangering another person.
Police reported Beaver is accused of slamming his two-month-old son into a car seat, causing the child to suffer a fractured skull, two fractured ribs, a brain injury and retinal hemorrhaging. Police said the offenses were committed between Jan. 29 and March 23 at Beaver's home.
According to a criminal complaint, Shamokin police received a report of suspected child abuse from Northumberland County Children and Youth Services on March 31. Police said the report involved allegations of serious bodily injury to Beaver's son.
Police said the victim was examined at Knapper Clinic at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville on March 30 and was found to have two rib fractures, a skull fracture, retinal hemorrhaging and bleeding on the brain (subdural hematomas).
On March 23, Children and Youth Services took custody of the child and placed him in foster care. While in foster care, the child's foster mother noticed the boy's eyes were
wandering and crossing. The child was then taken to the Geisinger Child Advocacy Center and examined by Dr. Pat Bruno on March 29 before being referred to Knapper Clinic for further testing.
On April 7, the child's mother, Savanah Allabaugh, was interviewed by police and Amy Orner, a caseworker with Children and Youth. Allabaugh said her mother informed her that Joseph Spagnolo III witnessed Beaver slam the child into a car seat. Allabaugh indicated that Beaver and her mother, Ronita Freeze, were arguing when the incident allegedly occurred with the child.
Allabaugh told police she did not harm the boy and didn't witness anyone else injure the child.
Beaver, who also was interviewed by police on April 7, initially stated that everything was fine with the birth and caring of the infant. When questioned about the allegation made by Spagnolo during a second interview with Patrolman William Miner, Beaver admitted that on March 20, he engaged in an argument with Allabaugh and Freeze. During the argument, Beaver told police he placed his son in a car seat and may have been too rough in doing so.
Beaver also told police that sometime around March 12, he woke up to feed his son. Beaver said he wasn't completely awake at the time and may have harmed the baby, but he didn't elaborate in what fashion the infant may have been injured.
During an April 12 interview with Mowery and Orner, Spagnolo said in the beginning of March he was walking past the residence of Beaver and Allabaugh at 229 W. Sunbury St. when he heard a baby crying and adults arguing. Spagnolo, who is a friend of Beaver and Allabaugh, said he then stopped in front of the house and heard the arguing. As he was standing on the sidewalk, Spagnolo said he saw Beaver standing just inside the front door and yelling at Allabaugh, who is Beaver's girlfriend. Spagnolo said he witnessed Beaver violently pick the baby off the floor and slam him into a child car seat. According to Spagnolo, Beaver then picked up the seat with the baby in it and violently slammed the seat into a stroller.
Later that evening, Spagnolo said he returned to Beaver's home to visit his friends. Spagnolo said he noticed that every time the baby moved his head or was picked up, he would cry. Spagnolo told police he believes the baby was injured earlier in the day when Beaver violently slammed him into the car seat.
Beaver is currently serving a 60-day sentence in Northumberland County Prison in Sunbury for contempt of court for failing to pay child support. Beaver failed to appear for a hearing in April involving the domestic relations issue.
He is scheduled to be arraigned on the alleged child abuse offenses Tuesday by Magisterial District Judge John Gembic III.