Guilty plea in infant assault case

Clint Riese
Staff Writer

A South St. Paul man last Thursday pled guilty to first degree assault of an infant in a case stemming from an incident in Forest Lake on Aug. 19, 2011.

County Attorney Pete Orput announced that Mark J. Nelson, 32, entered his plea in front of Judge John Hoffman in Washington County District Court. The charge calls for a sentence of between 74 and 103 months in prison according to the Minnesota Sentencing Guideline. Sentencing was set for March 23.

According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, Nelson, who was dating the mother of the six-month-old infant, became angry with the mother. Nelson then picked up the infant and squeezed its torso until he heard some cracking noises, the complaint said.

Medical personnel from Hennepin County Medical Center are cited as stating that 22 of the child’s 24 ribs were broken, counting 37 separate fractures.

In addition, hospital officials said they found bruising to the liver and lungs, together with trauma to the eyes, all consistent with child abuse, according to the complaint.