HEIDELBERG TWP., Pa. | A Lehigh County man is facing assault charges after medical personnel discovered his infant son sustained a pair of skull fractures caused by an iPad and more than 30 rib fractures.
Pennsylvania State Police charged Dalton J. Conway, of Heidelberg Township, with single felony counts of aggravated assault and child endangerment, following a February trip to the intensive care unit for his 2-month-old son.
State police were dispatched to the pediatric intensive care unit at Lehigh Valley Hospital Cedar Crest in February when hospital staff reported they believed a 2-month-old child had sustained rib and skull fractures, according to the criminal complaint. Conway had taken the infant to the hospital following a trip to the pediatrician.
During an interview with authorities, Conway said he noticed that his son had been having difficulty breathing the night before and had taken him to the pediatrician that afternoon, according to court records. The pediatrician recommended a visit to the emergency room for chest x-rays, which revealed the injuries, according to records. Conway told investigators that he was the child’s primary caretaker.
Conway reportedly told state police that he sometimes patted the infant “rougher on his back” while burping him and squeezing the boy to help him make bowel movements, according to records. He allegedly acknowledged that he was likely responsible for the child’s injuries as he squeezed the boy out of frustration. Conway told authorities that the child sometimes kept crying, prompting him to squeeze the boy with his forearm and bicep, according to the complaint.
During a follow-up interview, Conway allegedly admitted squeezing the boy so hard it took his breath away. When pressed about the skull fractures, he allegedly admitted to accidentally slamming an electronic tablet on the boy’s head.
A thorough examination revealed the boy sustained 35 rib fractures, a broken collar bone, two skull fractures and other injuries, including bleeding on the brain and fluid on the lungs. The exam determined that the injuries were caused by violent shaking and that “adult force” was necessary to cause the injuries, according to police.
Along with the aggravated assault and child endangerment charges, the 28-year-old Conway also faces misdemeanor counts of simple assault and reckless endangerment. Authorities filed the charges Tuesday, and Conway was arraigned Wednesday morning by District Judge Tom Creighton.
He was released on $50,000 unsecured bail ahead of a preliminary hearing tentatively scheduled for Sept. 3.