A woman is facing child abuse charges that she shook a 5-month-old baby at her Spring Township day care center hard enough to cause a skull fracture.
The investigation into Jalene McClure, 38, who now lives in State College, began Aug. 18, 2010, when the baby’s mother noticed her child had a bump on her head, was pale and had vomited on the car ride home. McClure was arraigned Tuesday on charges of aggravated and simple assault and child and reckless endangerment.
“These cases are the worst kind because infant victims cannot speak for themselves,” said District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller. “When a parent entrusts their child into the care of people they expect to protect them, it is unthinkable that a caretaker would become the very person that harms their child.”
McClure no longer runs her home-based day care center. The state Department of Public Welfare removed her from their system in September 2010 after McClure voluntarily stopped her day care, a spokeswoman said.
McClure’s attorney, Bernard Cantorna, did not returns messages seeking comment.
Spring Township police said a medical exam at Mount Nittany Medical Center in August 2010 showed the baby had a fractured skull and symptoms of having been shaken.
At first, McClure denied to police that anything happened that day.
She told police she did day care for the baby for several months, and that the baby was a crier. The baby threw up twice that day, but McClure told police that was the first that had happened under her care.
A week after the investigation began, McClure gave police a written statement saying she tripped and fell while holding the baby. The baby’s head hit the side of her infant car seat while McClure fell on top of her.
According to the charging documents, a doctor at Geisinger Medical
Center told police in September 2010 the incident was not accidental. The doctor, Paul Bellino, told police the subdural bleeding and retinal hemorrhaging injuries are indicative of trauma and not an accident.
Then in February of this year, police talked to the baby’s parents again and recounted what happened on the day in question.
Police said they met with Bellino again and reviewed notes in which several doctors agree that the injuries were caused by trauma. One doctor said McClure’s story is not believable.
Bellino told police the hemorrhaging the baby had was consistent with a car crash in which a child is ejected and hitting its head on the ground.
The doctor told police McClure didn’t report the injury immediately and endangered the child’s life.
After McClure was arraigned Tuesday, she was released on $50,000 unsecured bail.
She’s scheduled for a preliminary hearing Wednesday.
Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT