CARIBOU, Maine — A Presque Isle man who caused serious, lifelong injuries to his 38-day-old daughter when he squeezed her in an effort to get her to cry herself to sleep will serve eight years on an aggravated assault charge.
Patrick Bailey, 27, waived a trial and pleaded guilty to the charge. He was sentenced on Friday in Aroostook County Superior Court to 10 years in prison with all but eight years suspended along with three years of probation with a number of conditions. He also will have to pay restitution to the state for the baby’s medical expenses because the child’s health care at the time of the crime was paid by MaineCare. The amount has not yet been determined, but it will cover expenses incurred beginning when the child was injured up until Friday.
Aroostook County Superior Court Justice E. Allen Hunter called it the worst case short of a homicide that he has seen in 30 years.
After his sentencing, Bailey was taken immediately to the Aroostook County Jail.
According to the state, on Dec. 3, 2008, the infant was ill, fussy and restless and had not slept all night. Bailey also had slept very little that evening and was trying to get his daughter to go to sleep at the home he shared with his wife, Jennifer Bailey, at 68 Chapman Road in Presque Isle.
Aroostook County Deputy District Attorney Carrie Linthicum said that Bailey wrapped both hands around his daughter’s torso and squeezed her in an effort to make her cry so that she would eventually cry herself to sleep. Linthicum said that Bailey had used the tactic several times before.
Linthicum told Hunter that Jennifer Bailey had seen her husband squeezing the baby before and told him not to do it. Patrick Bailey assured his wife that he “knew CPR.” He had never taken an infant CPR course, according to the deputy district attorney.
Bailey re-enacted the incident for police and a videotape of the re-enactment was played in court.
On the re-enactment video, Bailey talked nonchalantly of how he sat on the couch with the fussy baby that morning, bouncing her and then placing her facedown on the couch as he listened to music on his laptop. When she still wasn’t quiet, he showed the detective how he squeezed her, stopping when she turned yellow and stopped breathing.
Bailey told the court Friday that he could not remember how long or how hard he squeezed the newborn on the day of the incident.
When she became unresponsive, he called out to his wife and they drove the baby to the hospital, said Linthicum.
The child, who was not breathing, was taken to The Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle with no pulse or heartbeat. Linthicum said that she was dead for 32 minutes until the TAMC staff was able to revive her. She was rushed to the pediatric intensive care unit of Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, where she spent a significant amount of time.
The child suffered damage to her lungs, liver and neck.
Bailey was arrested on Dec. 9, 2008. The arrest came after a joint investigation by Presque Isle Police Department Detective Bill Scull and Maine State Police Detective Adam Stoutamyer.
Choking back sobs, Linthicum told Hunter that what Bailey did was not aggravated assault, “it was murder.”
“If not for the personnel at The Aroostook Medical Center, this would be a manslaughter case,” she said, adding that Bailey also didn’t call 911 for help after he injured the baby.
The Baileys gave up custody of their daughter. She has been adopted and her name has been changed. She is now more than a year old but cannot crawl or sit up unassisted. Because of lack of oxygen to the brain, she suffers from cerebral palsy, affecting all four limbs and the function of her mouth.
She cannot eat normally and is mainly fed through a tube. According to the state, she will be disabled for life and endures painful physical therapy.
On a tape played in court, the girl spent most of her time crying, moaning and spitting up the spoonful of food that her adoptive parents tried to feed her.
The baby’s adoptive family addressed the court, calling for Bailey to be punished severely. Jennifer Bailey’s parents also told Hunter that Patrick Bailey showed no concern for the child or remorse while she was hospitalized. They also asked for a lengthy jail sentence.
Bailey hung his head as he heard the child crying and spitting up on tape.
Luke Rossignol, the Presque Isle attorney who represented Bailey, acknowledged that his client “made a very grave mistake” and “came up with a very ill-conceived method to deal with his child,” but said that Bailey did the best he could to help her after she was injured and was upfront with medical personnel and police about what he had done.
Patrick Bailey addressed the court. He squeezed his eyes shut a number of times but did not shed any tears. He said that he wished he could take back what he had done and take the child’s pain away. He said he squeezed her out of “misguided parenting skills” and didn’t show any emotion after the crime because he was “in shock” and trying to stay strong for his wife.
“I am terrified of being in prison, partly because the other inmates will target me, if I survive,” he said.
Bailey’s family and friends, including Jennifer Bailey, pleaded for mercy. Jennifer Bailey asked that her husband not receive any jail time, but pushed for community service instead. She said that during the brief time he was in jail after his arrest, the other inmates “treated him like he molested his daughter.”
She characterized her husband as a good man who had grown up a lot since his daughter was injured, characterizing the squeezing of the child as “a freak accident.”
Others also vouched for Patrick Bailey’s character, calling him “generous,” “kind,” “supportive” and “loving.” They also said he had always liked children and been kind to them.
Linthicum had requested that Bailey spend 10 years in jail with no time suspended. Rossignol argued for a lesser amount.
Hunter deliberated for more than a half-hour before deciding on the sentence. While he acknowledged that Bailey was not likely to reoffend, he said that a “parental strategy of physical brutality to control an infant’s crying is beyond comprehension.”
“The baby has suffered losses beyond my ability to articulate,” Hunter said. He added that the restitution that Bailey will have to repay likely will be enormous and could be a financial life sentence.
“To me, it wouldn’t be unjust,” Hunter said Friday.