Man accused of breaking newborn's arm sentenced to three years probation

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Andrea Anderson | April 29, 2016

ELKHORN—A man accused of breaking a newborn's left arm pleaded guilty to a reduced charge Wednesday and was sentenced to three years probation.

Jonathan P. Foreman, 23, originally faced up to six years in prison after being charged in 2014 with felony child abuse.

On April 27, Foreman plead guilty to recklessly causing harm to a child, which carries up to three years and six months in prison.

In exchange for the guilty plea, defense attorney Travis Schwantes and Walworth County District Attorney Dan Necci had agreed to recommend three years of probation.

Judge David Reddy followed the recommendation.

If Foreman violates his probation, he will be sent to prison.

Foreman, who is deaf, was at a Lake Geneva home July 3, 2014, when the child, then 10 weeks old, was crying and needed his diaper changed, according to the criminal complaint.

Foreman was in bed when the mother of the child told Foreman the child was crying, and he got up to check on the newborn, Schwantes said.

While holding the child, Foreman switched positions and “felt a pop” in the child's left arm, Foreman told police. A Milwaukee Children's Hospital pediatrician told Bloomfield police Foreman's story is not consistent with the child's injury, according to the complaint.

The child suffered a break to the bone extending from the shoulder to the elbow, according to the complaint.

The pediatrician told police such an injury “requires violent twisting forces.”

While examining the child, 11 rib fractures in various stages of healing were found, the result of “severe” physical child abuse, according to the complaint.

Schwantes and Walworth County prosecutor Haley Johnson said Wednesday that no one knows who or what caused the rib fractures or when those injuries happened.
Foreman is not accused of breaking the child's ribs.

At least two other people were at the home July 3, 2014, Schwantes previously told The Gazette.

Since being charged, Foreman has moved from Kenosha County to Lake Geneva, according to court records.

The mother of the child said at Wednesday's hearing she was “disappointed” with the requested sentence.

She said she reached out to Necci “a couple weeks ago” and was told about the plea agreement, but she said the logic behind it wasn't explained.

“I expressed my concerns, and it didn't sound like the outcome was going to change,” she said.

Necci offered the agreement March 29 because of concerns about an interview Foreman had with a doctor and the accuracy of the sign language interpretation, Schwantes and Johnson said.

That interview was considered to be a confession, Schwantes said.

The Gazette was not able to reach Necci for comment.

Necci had considered dismissing the case with the possibility of reissuing charges after hiring an expert to look into the sign language interview, Schwantes said.

Schwantes said Necci consulted with county health and human services officials and investigators who agreed time in prison or jail was not necessary if Foreman followed the conditions of his probation.

Foreman opted for the plea deal because he wanted to put the case to rest, Schwantes said.

Johnson, who appeared on behalf of Necci on Wednesday, said “Necci thought this was a concrete charge that he could prove rather than take this to trial and risk (losing).

“We do take victims' thoughts and feelings into consideration but we also have to consider what we can prove in trial,” she said.

Before sentencing Foreman, Reddy asked the mother if she would like time to speak with Necci about the agreement.

The mother declined, saying she would speak with Johnson after the hearing.

As a condition of probation, Foreman may not have contact with the child, how now is 2 years old, without permission from the mother, health and human services and Foreman's probation agent.

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