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Shocking case of alleged child abuse spurs warnings

Shocking case of alleged child abuse spurs warnings

READING, Pa. - A baby's father is behind bars, accused of assaulting his newborn son.

The shocking child abuse case involves a 3-week-old baby.  Authorities said the little boy suffered multiple broken bones.

Police said Vidal DeJesus admitted to them he inflicted his son's injuries because he was frustrated by the baby's cries.

Baby Romeo is now 2-months-old. When he was just weeks old, police said he was sent to the hospital with a broken left arm, a broken right leg and 13 broken ribs.

Police said it was DeJesus who inflicted the injuries, but the baby's mom defended the dad in an interview with 69 News on Thursday.

"Vidal is not a monster. OK?" said Carissa Snyder. "He did not purposely hurt my son."

But District Attorney John Adams said he's appalled by DeJesus' admission that, because the baby was crying, DeJesus grabbed him by the arm on one occasion and then squeezed the baby on another until he caused the sound of cracking knuckles. 

Other parents are also disturbed.

"It's horrible," said April Werich. "I couldn't believe it."

Without excusing the inexcusable, pediatricians said parental frustration is understandable.

"Parents are exhausted, especially first-time parents," said Dr. Renee Riddle, Children's Health Center Reading Hospital Medical System. "They're not used to getting lack of sleep and having to put somebody else before them."

Riddle would not comment on the specifics of this case, but she said all parents need to prepare themselves for caring for a baby.

"Nobody wants to see a baby cry," said Riddle. "So, I always reassure my parents it's normal to cry. Most babies can cry anywhere from seven to eight hours a day. That's their only way they can communicate."

Riddle also offered specifics about reacting to the cries.

"If the baby keeps crying, it's OK. Lay them down and walk away," said Riddle. "Let them cry for a couple minutes. I always tell parents get a cup of water, walk outside, take a deep breath and come back. It's very hard to calm a baby when you're frustrated."

DeJesus is being held on $500,000 bail. His preliminary hearing is set for June 28.

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