If you are concerned about a child being neglected or abused, call Maine’s 24-hour hotline at 800-452-1999 or 711 to speak with a child protective specialist. Calls may be made anonymously. For more information, visit maine.gov/dhhs/ocfs/cw/reporting_abuse.
A Bangor father is facing charges after his infant son suffered skull and rib fractures in separate incidents last month.
Damien Schenk, 19, is charged with two counts each of assault on a child under the age of 6, a Class A crime, as well as endangering the welfare of a child and reckless conduct, all Class D crimes.
The injuries happened following a summer when the state’s child welfare system was receiving renewed scrutiny as three children died in less than a month, allegedly at the hands of parents.
Another infant died in late August, with his father accused in the killing. A Winthrop father has been accused of injuring his 4-month-old child so severely in July that the child will most likely be blind.
Schenk’s son, now 8 weeks old, apparently will recover.
Camren L. Breton, 22, was indicted last month by the Kennebec County grand jury on assault charges stemming from July 21, when the baby suffered a severe brain injury while in Breton’s care.
Schenk was arrested Tuesday. He made his first court appearance remotely Wednesday from the Penobscot County Jail on the charges. He was not asked to enter pleas to the charges because he has not yet been indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury.
Bail was set at $2,500 cash.
Conditions include no contact with his son or the baby’s mother. He also may have no unsupervised contact with children under the age of 18 and may not leave the state.
Bangor police were called to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center on Oct. 12 to investigate how a 5-week-old suffered a skull fracture, according to court documents. Initially, the boy’s 17-year-old mother said that she accidentally bumped his head against a kitchen counter while preparing a bottle for him.
Schenk told police that he had been holding the child when his head struck the counter, a police affidavit said. He later confessed that he had dropped the boy and he’d hit his head on the floor.
No charges were filed at that time but officers were called on Oct. 28 by the baby’s pediatrician, who said that during a well visit she’d discovered a rib fracture, according to court documents. The doctor said the fracture was 10 to 14 days old, and most likely was caused by a squeezing or shaking-related incident, according to court documents. It would have been inflicted after the baby was released from the hospital for treatment of the skull fracture.
Schenk at first denied squeezing the child but eventually told police that after working his night job and trying to get some sleep, the baby began crying, a police affidavit said. He allegedly told police that he was tired and did not know how to help his son.
“Damien stated he walked over to his son who was crying in his bassinet and squeezed him,” an affidavit said. “Damien advised he went from crying to screaming to crying to a soft whimpering before he stopped crying. He advised that he then made a bottle for him and fed him.”
The baby remains in the care of his mother with supervision by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
Damien remained Thursday at the jail unable to post bail.
He is next due in court on Jan. 11.
If convicted, Schenk faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 on the assault charge and up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000 on the other charges.