The 27-year-old Boyne City man accused of second-degree child abuse pleaded “no contest” on Friday Jan. 17 in Charlevoix County 33rd Circuit Court.
Steven Lawrence Cronk—who missed his original court date and was arrested Thursday Jan. 9 after a bench warrant was issued—will be sentenced on one charge of second-degree child abuse on Friday Jan. 31, for injuring an infant.
“A 9-1-1 call was made at 4:33 p.m. on July 12 requesting an ambulance in the City of Boyne City due to a three-month-old baby not breathing,” it stated in a Friday Jan. 17 press release from the office of Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof. “Paramedics responded and found the child in distress and struggling to breathe.”
According to the release, court documents show the female baby was taken to McLaren Hospital in Petoskey and then airlifted to DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids.
The child had been alone with Cronk and her young siblings at the time the injuries occurred, it was further stated.
A July 15, 2013 report from DeVos Children’s Hospital pediatrician Dr. Sarah J. Brown stated, “My overall assessment for (the child) is definite pediatric physical abuse. Although an accident has been explained by (Cronk) that accounts for (the child’s) low oxygen brain injury, this accident does not explain her subdural hemorrhages, retinal hemorrhages, or fractures.”
Brown’s report went on to state that the injuries were signs of “severe whiplash injury.”
“Whiplash injury to an infant can occur through violent shaking, shaking ending with impact, or single violent maneuvers ending with impact,” Brown stated…. “I believe that (the child) was abusively head injured on the afternoon of Friday July 12, 2013.”
The child survived the incident.
According to Telgenhof, a “no contest” plea has the same effect as a “guilty” plea.
“The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison,” Telgenhof stated. “Cronk’s attorney Christopher Turkelson indicated that the reason for the ‘no contest’ plea is potential civil liability.”
Boyne City Police Officer Craig Remsberg was the lead investigator on the case.