The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

October 31, 2012

Child assault case advances to county court

Patrick Buchnowski
pbuchnowski@tribdem.com

— A Johnstown man accused of breaking the leg of his infant son will answer criminal charges in Cambria County court.

Carl Harris, 20, of Solomon Homes, waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Wednesday before District Judge Leonard Grecek of Roxbury.

Harris is charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and child endangerment in the Aug. 15 incident involving his then 8-week-old son.

“I believe we have a very strong case,” Assistant District Attorney Beth Penna said. “Causing a severe injury to a child that small is something we will not tolerate.”

The baby has since recovered, she said.

In a criminal complaint, city police said the boy suffered a “fracture of the midshaft of the right fibia.”

Police said Harris told them that the infant was “crying and crying,” and when he got ready to leave the room in anger he pressed down on the baby’s leg and heard a pop.

Harris said he was not sure he hurt the baby until the next morning, police said.

Three weeks ago, Harris asked county Judge Norman Krumenacker to reduce his $75,000 bond. Instead, the judge doubled his bond to $150,000 after hearing a recording of a phone conversation in which Harris allegedly tried to persuade the baby’s mother to change the story she told police.

On the telephone recording from the Cambria County Prison, Harris could be heard urging the woman to rob her grandmother so there would be money to post the bond.

The 17-year-old woman told police that she was out of the house for two hours on the day the child was injured. She also alleged that Harris wanted her to say she was home.

“Mr. Harris continues to maintain his innocence and that he would never intentionally hurt his child,” public defender Richard Messina said.

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