CLEARFIELD – A Clearfield man has been accused of abusing his seven-month-old baby.
Timothy J. Seagraves, 23, has been charged by Officer Shawn Fye of the Clearfield Borough police with felony aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of children and aggravated assault/victim less than 6 and defendant 18 or order (three counts).
He has also been charged with three misdemeanor counts each of simple assault and recklessly endangering another person. Unable to post $50,000 bail, he’s been incarcerated in the Clearfield County Jail.
Seagraves waived his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday during centralized court at the jail.
The charges stem from a report of suspected child abuse made to police on March 19, according to the affidavit of probable cause filed with the office of Magisterial District Judge Mike Morris.
The baby had been taken to Penn Highlands DuBois Hospital on March 18 due to vomiting and having decreased feeding for four days.
He reportedly had a “bulging” fontanelle and was crying when he was first brought into the exam room. He was also reportedly lethargic when medical staff started an IV.
Following a CT scan, the baby was diagnosed with bilateral subdural bleeding, then transferred to UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh because he needed a “higher level of care,” the affidavit states.
There, Dr. Sara Otaibi, DO pediatric ophthalmologist, discovered the baby had multiple preretinal, intraretinal and subretinal hemorrhages in both fundi.
Otaibi concluded: “In the absence of a fall greater than two stories, a high-speed motor vehicle accident or uncontrolled bleeding disorder, retinal hemorrhages of this extent can be explained only by nonaccidental trauma.”
The baby also reportedly suffered from bilateral subdural hemorrhages, which required him to undergo neurosurgery for placement of a subdural drain.
Because there were “layers of blood,” medical staff found this to be an indicator of prior abuse, and said his injuries were the result of “Shaken Baby Syndrome.”
During a police interview April 11, Seagraves admitted he would get frustrated with his son when he wouldn’t stop fussing.
On March 14, the day the baby first became ill, Seagraves allegedly shook him. As he watched his head go back and forth, he said he yelled for him to “shut the [expletive] up.”
Then, he allegedly forcibly threw his son into a bassinet and laid a blanket over his face before walking away. He said the baby continued to fuss for about five minutes.
Seagraves admitted his son’s fussing was possibly due to a head injury. He said when the baby first threw up around 11 p.m. that night, he knew he’d gone “a little overboard.”
Also, during the interview, Seagraves said he’d “acted out” toward his son at least three or four times with the last time being the most severe.
He said when he first realized he was being forceful, the baby was three-and-a-half to four-months-old. However, he went on to claim that he didn’t know his own strength.