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.
The North Carolina man charged with seriously injuring a baby in Orono more than 2½ years ago will serve four years in prison following his guilty plea and sentencing Tuesday.
Cyree Hansley, 27, pleaded guilty to one count each of aggravated assault, a Class B crime, and one count of assault on a child less than 6 years old, a Class C crime, in connection with the alleged assault.
He was sentenced Tuesday to nine years in prison with all but four years suspended.
Hansley was living with the boy and his mother, Alexandria Orduna, at the time the injuries were inflicted, but he is not the child’s father.
The boy is nearly blind and suffered brain injuries as a result of a skull fracture Hansley inflicted on Jan. 10, 2019, when the boy was 6½ months old, Joanne Lewis, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County, told Superior Court Justice Ann Murray. The baby also suffered spinal, ankle and leg fractures, in addition to bleeding on the brain and a stroke.
The Bangor Daily News is not naming the child because he is a minor and victim of a crime.
The child’s mother, flanked by family and friends, attended the sentencing at the Penobscot Judicial Center. All wore black shirts, each with a white paper pinned on the back that said, “No excuse for infant abuse.”
Orduna said that Hansley lied to her about abusing the boy, and the baby’s doctor did not tell her that she was seeing signs of child abuse during a well baby visit the day that the baby’s skull was fractured. She left Hansley alone with the baby that evening so she could attend classes at the University of Maine. The baby was unresponsive when she returned home.
Orduna asked that the judge impose the maximum sentence of 10 years.
“He will never live a normal life,” she said of her son. “His brain is not properly growing. Cyree took away the normal relationship he had with his mother. He nearly killed [the baby] and would have if I had not rushed him to the ER and he’d received loving care.”
The mother said her son requires multiple therapies.
Murray accepted the plea agreement but increased the time of probation from three years to 5½ years. Conditions include no contact with the victim, his mother and other family members; no unsupervised contact with children under the age of 18; and that Hansley undergo counseling.
Hansley directly addressed Orduna and her family and apologized.
“I am truly sorry for the trauma [the baby] endured,” he said. “I can’t imagine what you’ve gone through. I hope that someday you and [the boy] can forgive me.”
In exchange for his guilty plea, one count each of aggravated assault and violation of a condition of release were dismissed.
While the criminal case has been pending, a lawsuit filed by the child’s mother alleging that personnel at a Bangor clinic did not inform her or the Maine Department of Health and Human Services of signs of abuse noticed during a well-child visit is pending in federal court in Bangor. It is scheduled to be tried in April if it is not settled first.
Hansley pleaded not guilty to the charges shortly after being indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury in May 2019 and was released on bail to live in North Carolina with his mother, according to the Penobscot County District Attorney’s office.
He was returned to Maine in September, after he had been living with a new girlfriend and his infant son in North Carolina. He has been held without bail at the Penobscot County Jail since then.
Hansley had no criminal history.
Efforts to resolve Hansley’s case earlier were stymied by the pandemic, travel restrictions and quarantine protocols for people coming to Maine from other states.
Hansley faced up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000 on the Class B charge and up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 on the Class C charge.