ARCHBALD, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Archbald police say they arrested a man on Tuesday after he allegedly physically assaulted his infant son.
According to Archbald Police Borough Police Department, an investigation into the assault of a 12-week-old, premature infant, began when officers received a photograph showing bruises to the infant’s eyes.
Police say the infant’s father, 23-year-old, Juriiyah Westberry, of Wilkes-Barre, told detectives the bruising was from an accident when a baby monitor camera fell on the face of the child.
The police criminal complaint reads Westberry and his infant son were staying with relatives in the 600 block of Thomas Street in Eynon.
However, the bruises on the infant’s face were not consistent with injuries from a camera, investigators say. Police advised Westberry that they wanted his son to be seen by a medical professional, to which he gave his permission.
Officers say upon the full body skeletal exam of the infant his injuries were not consistent with the baby monitor camera and police told Westberry this, after which, Westberry said, “The baby may have slipped out my hands.”
As the release reads, Westberry told officers that around 11:00 p.m. he noticed the camera fell so he went upstairs to check on the baby. He was holding the infant with one arm and the baby was facing forward when Westberry said he slipped and fell forward.
Westberry said he caught his son by his food but the baby hit his face on the railing of the ‘Bassinet Pack-n-Play.’ Westberry told police the child didn’t cry a lot and there wasn’t immediate bruising so he didn’t think anything of it, the release reads.
According to law enforcement on Thursday, November 24, Archbald police were contacted by the Lackawanna County Office of Youth and Family Services (OFYS) and advised that the baby had been taken back to the hospital for a CT scan of his head and the scan found serious brain bleeding and hemorrhages, as well as other injuries, which resulted from separate incidents of non-accidental injuries to the baby.
The infant was airlifted to Geisinger Janet Weiss Children’s Hospital in Danville for treatment Thursday due to multiple serious brain injuries, police said.
According to the criminal complaint, Westberry was taken into custody after he admitted during an interview at police headquarters that he hit the baby three times and admitted his previous statement was not the truth and he wanted to give a new written statement.
As the complaint reads, Westberry said he woke up to his son crying around 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. on Nov. 17. He changed and fed the baby but he continued to scream. Westberry said he then took the infant from his bassinet and placed him on the bed, where he was calm for about five minutes before he started crying again.
Police say Westberry then hit the baby three times in the face. He struck the baby with the palm of his hand, twice between his eyes on top of his nose and once more a little higher on his forehead, the complaint said. Westberry said he placed the child back in the bassinet, where he eventually fell asleep.
Accoridng to the complaint the next morning Westberry saw the bruising and when asked about it by his uncle, Westberry said he didn’t know what happened, and that he lied to OYFS because he doesn’t trust them.
Officers say Westberry said that the written statement he previously provided wasn’t the truth so he wanted to provide a new statement in which he stated he caused the injuries to the infant by hitting him three times in the face and head area.
Westberry denies any previous incidents that would have caused the infant any injuries and that he never shook the baby, that he remembers.
Police charged Westberry with three felony counts each of aggravated assault of a victim less than 13, aggravated assault of a victim less than 6, recklessly endangering another person, and simple assault.
Westberry was arraigned in front of Magisterial District Judge George Seig, who remanded Westberry to the Lackawanna County Prison because he could post his bail set at $500,000 monetary.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for December 12.