OSCEOLA MILLS – The parents accused of severely assaulting a three-week-old infant in Osceola Mills were scheduled for centralized court Wednesday at the Clearfield County Jail.
Aaron John Mills, 32, of Osceola Mills has been charged with aggravated assault, F1, four counts; aggravated assault, F2, four counties; aggravated indecent assault, F2, two counts; endangering the welfare of children, F3; conspiracy/endangering the welfare of children, F3; simple assault, M1, four counts; recklessly endangering another person, M2; and use/possession of drug paraphernalia, M.
Stephanie Diane McGuire, 22, also of Osceola Mills, has been charged with aggravated assault, F1; aggravated assault, F2; endangering the welfare of children, F3; conspiracy/endangering the welfare of children, F3; simple assault, M1; recklessly endangering another person, M2; and use/possession of drug paraphernalia, M.
Mills had all charges held to court following a preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge James Hawkins. McGuire waived the charges against her on to court for further disposition. Bail has been set for Mills and McGuire at $100,000 and $50,000, respectively.
During the preliminary hearing, District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. presented testimony from Trooper David Patrick, a criminal investigator with the Clearfield-based state police, and Trooper David Ray, a criminal investigation assessment officer with the Punxsutawney-based state police.
Patrick said on March 1 McGuire took her infant daughter along with her to a doctor’s appointment in order to be examined for a severe diaper rash at Geisinger Medical Center, Philipsburg.
She was examined and diagnosed with a severe diaper rash with a prolapsing rectum. The infant was transported to Mount Nittany Medical Center and later that same day, she was admitted for treatment at the Geisinger Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital in Danville, Pa.
There, doctors diagnosed her with abrasions on her head, most of her nose and around her lips; a laceration on her head; a tear inside her mouth between her gums and her nose; a cracked rib and abdominal bruising; two broken femurs; a prolapsed rectum and two tears in her rectal area; a severe diaper rash and abrasions in her rectal area; and an abrasion on her big toe.
Patrick said in a phone interview March 3, Paul J. Bellino, M.D., Geisinger Medical Center, stated that this was the worst case of a diaper rash in an infant of this age that he has ever seen.
Bellino concluded that the diaper rash didn’t develop overnight, and the rectal injuries were from recurring force from some type of abuse and not routine care.
In regards to the injury to the infant’s mouth and nose, it would have caused an “extreme” amount of blood loss and pain. It likely would have occurred as a result of something – a bottle or spoon – being shoved with force into her mouth, Bellino told Patrick.
During their interviews, Mills and McGuire stated that the infant was in their sole care at their residence on Edwards Street in Osceola Mills. Both stated she wasn’t in the care of anyone else between Feb. 26 and March 1.
Mills initially denied any knowledge about how the injuries had occurred to the infant. He claimed she had a diaper rash from the time she was born, and it had gotten better for a short while before getting worse again.
Mills also stated at times while changing the infant, he observed blood on the wet paper towel or diaper. When advised of the severe injuries to the infant’s rectal area, he continued to deny any knowledge of how they had occurred to her.
He also claimed the infant girl had scratched herself, causing her own facial injuries. He stated that she was fine when he went to work the morning of March 1.
On March 3 Mills allegedly admitted to Ray after his arrest that he “snapped” the infant girl up off the changing table by her ankles forcefully, causing injuries to her legs one time while he was caring for her. He stated he knew then that he had hurt the infant.
Mills also allegedly admitted to inserting a finger into the infant’s rear on two, separate occasions while changing her diaper.
Patrick testified that both Mills and McGuire failed to seek immediate medical treatment for the infant for her severe diaper rash and injuries.
According to Patrick, a search warrant was obtained for Mills’ and McGuire’s apartment. He said the couple’s apartment was very small, and it wasn’t difficult to hear from room to room.
The search, he said, also uncovered drug paraphernalia, namely a pipe and grinder, and they were seized as evidence.
During the closing, Mills’ attorney Gary Knaresboro only challenged the conspiracy charge. He didn’t feel the commonwealth presented any testimony that proved Mills and McGuire had conspired to carry out the alleged abuse.
Shaw countered, arguing both McGuire and Mills were aware of the infant’s diaper rash and injuries, and both failed to seek immediate treatment. “This isn’t a 13-year-old,” Shaw said. “This is a 22-day-old baby, and [she] should be pristine.”