BANGOR, Maine — A Brewer man charged with assaulting his 13-week-old daughter last Wednesday initially told investigators that he was cradling the baby when he fell down the stairs in the Allen Road apartment he shares with the child’s 23-year-old mother.
James Frank, 23, made his first court appearance Tuesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center on charges of aggravated assault and assault. He later was released from the Penobscot County Jail on $20,000 unsecured bail.
The child suffered a head injury consistent with a shaking episode, according to court documents. The girl also had bruising on both sides of her lower abdomen consistent with the outline of fingers, a bruise on her right shoulder and another on the left side of her chin.
She was expected to recover, according to court documents.
The baby has been released from Eastern Maine Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said Tuesday afternoon.
Frank was home alone with the baby Wednesday morning when the alleged assault occurred. The next day, he and the girl’s mother took the baby to her pediatrician’s office because she was lethargic and not eating, according to an affidavit by a Brewer police detective. Staff there sent the couple and the baby to EMMC.
Investigators from Brewer police and the Department of Health and Human Services met Friday with the child’s parents. After telling them that he fell down the stairs, Frank said he picked his daughter up, and she would not stop crying after he fed her. He said he became frustrated and picked her up by the shoulders and squeezed her too hard, according to the affidavit. He also said that he put his hands around the baby’s throat and picked her up, the affidavit said.
Whether Frank shook his daughter is not revealed in the court documents.
He was arrested Friday and taken to the Penobscot County Jail, where he spent the holiday weekend.
District Court Judge Jessie Gunther said Tuesday that she set bail at $20,000 unsecured because Frank has no criminal record. Bail conditions include no contact with his daughter and contact only by phone or in writing with her mother.
The mother and the baby were not in court Tuesday.
Frank’s next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 10.
If convicted of aggravated assault, he could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000. An assault conviction would carry a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.