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Father Beats Infant, Breaking 20 Bones, Gets Slap On the Wrist

Richard A. Root caused more than 20 broken bones in the infant, along with a brain bleed.

Oshkosh, WI – A man who severely beat his two-month-old daughter in March, causing more than 20 broken bones and bleeding on the brain, was just sentenced after both the defense and prosecution argued against prison time.

Richard A. Root, 21, of Oshkosh, pleaded no contest to a charge of child neglect resulting in great bodily harm in Winnebago County Court in August, and was found guilty, according to WGBA.

He had originally been charged with child abuse, recklessly causing great harm.

“My daughter means everything to me. I’m her father and I’m supposed to be her protector, but I let her down.” Root said at his sentencing. “I let myself down, my family down, my wife down, but most importantly, this little girl.”

Root was sentenced by Winnebago County Circuit Judge Thomas Gritton to six months in jail and seven years of probation, and he ordered Root to keep a job or attend school full time, to undergo counseling, and to not have or use alcohol or drugs.

Root’s defense attorney, Jeff Oswald, and Assistant District Attorney Eric Sparr both argued against putting Root in prison.

They said that they balanced the seriousness of the crime against positive things Roots has done since, like parenting classes, counseling, and a show of remorse, according to WGBA.

In March, the infant’s mother was at work while the baby was in Root’s care, according to court records.

The injuries occurred when Root shook the baby, asked her why she was crying, and knelt on her legs while changing her diaper, according to court records. He told police he was stressed and hadn’t gotten enough sleep, according to The Northwestern.

Root called the mother after the incident and told her something was wrong with the baby. When she returned home, they both took the baby to the hospital.

Doctors discovered the baby girl had more than 20 broken bones to her ribs, legs, and arms, multiple brain bleeds, and bruises to her face and head.

The baby was flown to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, where she was treated and later released to a family member, according to The Northwestern.

In an interview with police, Root admitted to causing his daughter’s injuries, and demonstrated his actions on a doll.

The mother was not charged with a crime.

Root could have faced a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. He is also not to have contact with his daughter, unless that contact is approved.

GinnyReed - December Sun, 2017

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