Warren man arrested

Police: Warren toddler suffered life-changing injuries from assaults

By Stephen Betts | Aug 09, 2017
Photo by: Stephen Betts Joseph Emerson, standing, appears in Knox County Court in Rockland Wednesday, Aug. 9.

Warren — An 18-month-old Warren child is at a Portland hospital with brain injuries that police say were inflicted by a 24-year-old man.

Judge Susan Sparaco set bail Wednesday, Aug. 9, at $50,000 cash for Joseph K. Emerson, who was arrested Aug. 7 on two counts of aggravated assault against the young child.

Assistant District Attorney Christopher Fernald told Sparaco that the child faced a long and difficult life because of the injuries he received. He said the doctor who examined the boy said either of the injuries suffered by the 18-month-old could have been fatal.

According to an affidavit filed in Knox County Court by Maine State Police Detective Scott Quintero, the child suffered a fractured skull, a bruised brain and four broken ribs.

State Police were notified by Maine Medical Center in Portland -- where the child was taken -- because the medical staff concluded the injuries were not consistent with statements by the mother on how the child had been injured.

The child's mother told police she had left the 18-month-old boy with her boyfriend (Emerson) when she went to work Saturday, Aug. 5, according to the police affidavit. When she returned home that evening, Emerson said the boy had fallen off a metal chair and struck his head. Emerson told the mother that the boy's eyes had rolled back into his head for a moment, but then became normal.

Emerson told the mother that he applied ice to the boy's head to reduce the swelling, according to the affidavit.

The mother told police that she did not believe Emerson would have been violent with the boy, but also said she had seen him get rough with her son, including squeezing him hard around the ribs, such that she could see the veins in Emerson's arm bulging.

The mother called the child's father the following morning when the child awoke and was not acting right, according to the affidavit.

Medical personnel told police, however, that the injuries could not have occurred in the manner the mother described.

In addition to the skull fracture, the child had a bruised brain, which a doctor said would likely lead to developmental disabilities. The child also had four broken ribs that were one to two months old, and a lacerated liver.

State police interviewed Emerson Aug. 7, and he initially repeated the story about the child's falling off the chair. Emerson then said he had dropped the child.

Eventually, Emerson told police he threw the child off the bed because the boy was hitting him with a toy truck, according to the affidavit.

Emerson remains at the Knox County Jail in Rockland in lieu of $50,000 cash bail.

Defense attorney for the day William Pagnano asked that Emerson be released on $1,500 cash bail. Pagnano said Emerson was a lifelong resident of Knox County, had family locally, had a steady job, and had no criminal record other than an illegal attachment of license plates.

Fernald said, however, that Emerson would be a flight risk, since the Class A aggravated assault charge carries a potential prison term of 30 years. The most serious assault occurred Aug. 5, according to police, while the other assault occurred June 21.

Comments (3)
Posted by: Nina Reed | Aug 10, 2017 06:10

this just sickens me.how can anyone abuse an innocent child.adults are suppose to protect the children.i pray this beautiful baby will be ok..

Posted by: Betty McCommic | Aug 09, 2017 19:48

In my opinion the mother is also guilty.Hope he gets life

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Aug 09, 2017 16:22

No Criminal record, in my opinion, is BS!!!  Doesn't matter because of what he did to this poor child!  Sure hope he gets the whole 30 YEARS!  The mother is also responsible!!!!!  This really really upsets me!!!!!  Any child abuse upsets me!

I pray that this child goes to someone who will have the patience and love he will need for the rest of his life.

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