By Mark Belling, WISN-AM
Because authorities say they cannot prove which parent did the abuse, a St. Francis couple, whose 14-day old baby who was terribly abused in January of last year, will plead guilty to misdemeanor charges and avoid prison.
Jessica D. Groen, 38, and Tyler J. Lamb, 33, both of St. Francis, were charged in January of last year of multiple counts of child neglect after their baby was taken to a hospital emergency room with multiple serious injuries. The 16-page doctor’s report indicated the baby had multiple fractures, facial bruising and abrasions, oral trauma, abrasions to both palms, blood blisters and blood in the eye.
But prosecutors say neither Lamb nor Groen would admit to the abuse but both acknowledged they saw evidence of the child’s injuries before taking the baby to the hospital. Deputy Milwaukee County District Attorney Matthew Torbenson tells me he did not believe he could prove which parent did the violent acts and therefore can’t charge either of them. Torbenson said both parents adamantly deny abusing the child. However, Torbenson acknowledged their response were occasionally implausible including their insistence that the baby’s face was bruised at birth. Torbenson acknowledged that would be impossible.
The plea deal reached with Groen and Lamb has them pleading guilty to four misdemeanor counts of child neglect but neither will face any charges for the injuries themselves or knowledge the baby was being abused.
I asked Torbenson why he didn’t simply charge both parents with abuse and the prosecutor said that would be improver because he didn’t believe he could prove either charge because neither of the parents implicated the other.
The plea deal will include a recommendation to Judge Frederick Rosa that both Lamb and Groen receive probation and extended supervision, but no prison time. Torbenson said the parents will be able to seek custody of the abused child after the period of supervision ends.
Here is a link to a Fox6 report on the original charges from January of last year: