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Published: Tuesday, 11/20/2012

Father sentenced in child abuse case

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

When Jesus Rivera picked up his then 4-month-old son this summer, causing a spiral fracture to the infant’s right leg, he “ignored all responsibilities that he had,” a Lucas County Common Pleas Court judge said Monday.

“You don’t pick up a baby by a leg or an arm,” Judge Ruth Ann Franks said. “…No, we didn’t see when this baby was picked up. But by the defendant’s own admission, he was rough.”

Rivera, 18, of 1420 Slater St., was sentenced to 2½ years in prison for the June 10 injury to his son, Gabriel. He had previously entered an Alford plea to attempted child endangering.

In an Alford plea, a defendant maintains innocence or does not admit to committing a crime, but acknowledges evidence is sufficient for a conviction. The court treats it as a guilty plea.

Judge Franks noted the boy had a heart condition that previously required surgery. This made the child even more fragile, she said, and Rivera’s action even more perverse.

According to authorities, the baby was injured when Rivera went to check on him at about 3 a.m. June 10 in the baby's mother's house in the 5500 block of San Paulo Drive. While Rivera was present, the baby emitted a loud scream.

The baby’s 17-year-old mother and grandmother then attempted to calm the child and saw that something appeared wrong with his leg, authorities said.

After taking the baby to the hospital, it was discovered that the child suffered a spiral fracture in his right femur. Doctors said the injury could not have been the result of an accident, but rather was “inflicted in an abusive manner.”

Rivera said in court that he was sorry for the pain he caused his son. He said he wanted to attend counseling and parental classes so that he could work on “getting custody back.”

Members of both Rivera’s family and that of the child’s mother appeared in court. Joan Rohlman, the maternal great-grandmother, told Judge Franks that Rivera proved he was capable of injuring his own son when angered, if even for a moment.

“The second [his anger] gets away from him again, it scares me, and the rest of the family, that something can snap again,” she said.

Contact Erica Blake at: eblake@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.


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