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Woman who broke 9-month-old son’s leg gets nine months in jail

Posted April 11, 2012, at 12:30 p.m.
Last modified April 11, 2012, at 3:33 p.m.
Lynn Crossman during her sentencing at Penobscot Judicial Center on Wednesday, April 11, 2012.
Lynn Crossman during her sentencing at Penobscot Judicial Center on Wednesday, April 11, 2012.
Superior Court Justice John Nivison listens to defense attorney Stephen Smith make his sentencing recommendations during Lynn Crossman's sentencing at Penobscot Judicial Center Wednesday, April 11, 2012. She was sentenced to three years with all but nine months suspended for breaking her nine-month-old son's leg.
Superior Court Justice John Nivison listens to defense attorney Stephen Smith make his sentencing recommendations during Lynn Crossman's sentencing at Penobscot Judicial Center Wednesday, April 11, 2012. She was sentenced to three years with all but nine months suspended for breaking her nine-month-old son's leg.
Lynn Crossman during her sentencing at Penobscot Judicial Center on Wednesday, April 11, 2012.
Lynn Crossman during her sentencing at Penobscot Judicial Center on Wednesday, April 11, 2012.

BANGOR, Maine — The former Orono woman convicted last month of aggravated assault for breaking the leg of her 9-month-old son was sentenced Wednesday to three years behind bars with all but nine months suspended.

Lynn Crossman, 24, of Brewer admitted to police that she hit her son on the leg for crying while she was arguing with her parents on the phone in November 2010.

Assistant District Attorney Alice Clifford asked Superior Court Justice John Nivison to impose a three-year sentence on Crossman with all but nine to 12 months suspended and two years of probation when she is released, as well as special conditions of release that require a psychological evaluation, counseling and no unsupervised contact with minors.

Defense attorney Stephen Smith, saying his client has lived a tough life but has worked for the same fast food restaurant for the last four years, asked the judge for a lighter sentence.

“Three years with all but four months [suspended] is appropriate for the crime,” Smith said.

Nivison said Crossman’s work record, the lack of any prior criminal record, and her age were mitigating factors in the case, but he said an aggravating factor was that Crossman “hasn’t taken responsibility for the conduct.”

“Any time a vulnerable member of society is abused, it is a serious offense,” Nivison said.

He imposed the sentence and Crossman was taken into custody.

During her two-day trial, Crossman denied that she told former Orono police Detective Andrew Whitehouse and hospital staff that she had hit her son while arguing with her parents on the phone.

Crossman said she remembered speaking to the detective — who told the jury the day before that she admitted to assaulting her child — but not the specific questions he asked.

Crossman testified she hit her infant son after he kicked his brother while lying on a bed on the day before he was taken to the hospital for the broken leg.

The baby was taken to the emergency room at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor on Nov. 6, 2010, with a broken left femur and hand-print bruising on his back that is a “classic injury” in child abuse cases, two doctors testified.

Crossman’s two children, the baby, who is now just over 2 years of age, and his older brother, who is about 3½, were taken by the Department of Health and Human Services and have been adopted, Eric Winslow, the children’s father, said last month.

Winslow, who was outside the courtroom during Crossman’s sentencing, said he was not surprised by the sentence the judge imposed on his girlfriend.

After court, Clifford stood on the front steps of the Penobscot Judicial Center and said “the state is satisfied” with the sentence. With two years of probation, “if there are any sort of slip-ups, she’ll have that threat of serving the rest of her sentence” hanging over her head, Clifford said of Crossman.

Crossman’s defense attorney said he is appealing the conviction.

“The paperwork will be filed today,” Smith said.

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