Hammels Man Charged With Shaking Son
A 24-year-old Far Rockaway man has been charged with felony assault after his eight-month-old son suffered lifethreatening injuries, including bleeding on the brain. The child, who is unresponsive to his environment, has been diagnosed with Shaken Baby Syndrome.
District Attorney Richard Brown identified the defendant as Saul Cortez, 24, of 87-10 Rockaway Beach Boulevard.
Brown said, “According to the charges, the infant suffered severe brain and eye injuries, a lacerated liver, and healing and acute rib fractures as a result of being violently shaken and punched – grave physical injuries for anyone, let alone a baby less than a year old. It is shocking to consider that his father is charged with inflicting such brutality and suffering on one as young and innocent as his own child.”
The District Attorney added, “Perhaps even more disturbing is that this is the fourth case in the last month that my office has prosecuted involving infants and toddlers being seriously assaulted or murdered by their caregiver – a parent or babysitter. Despite increased efforts by medical and law enforcement personnel to educate the public on the dangers of shaking a baby, we are still seeing far too many cases of children dying or being permanently disabled, both mentally and physically, at the hands of their caregivers. Under no circumstances should a baby be shaken. Three seconds of shaking is all it takes to cause irreparable injury or even death.”
Court records show that according to the charges, just before midnight on April 5, 2010, eight-month-old Mario Patrice was admitted to Schneider Children’s Hospital and subsequently diagnosed with Shaken Baby Syndrome when tests revealed subdural bleeding, brain injury, retinal hemorrhages, laceration to the liver, and healing and acute rib fractures.
It is further alleged that Monica Patrice, the baby’s mother, left their residence for approximately twenty minutes earlier that night, leaving Cortez alone with the eight-month-old and a second child, who was two years old. When Patrice left, the baby was crying and in normal health. When she returned, Cortez was on the phone calling for help and the baby was unresponsive, limp and not breathing. It is additionally alleged that in statements made to police, Cortez said the baby was crying and he became frustrated and angry and repeatedly shook the baby and forcefully and repeatedly punched the baby in the back.
EMS workers responding to the call performed CPR on the baby, bringing the young boy back to life. They transported the baby to the Peninsula Hospital Center and from there he was taken to Schneider’s.
Cortez was arraigned yesterday before Queens Criminal Court Judge Lenora Gerald on charges of first-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child. Cortez, who faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted, was ordered held without bail and to return to court on April 12, 2010. The child is in grave condition and if he does not survive the charges will be upgraded.