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Man sentenced to probation for assaulting infant


December 19, 2017

Havre Daily News/Paul Dragu

Bruce Collins, front to back, his public defender, Randy Randolph, and Hill County Attorney Jessica Cole-Hodgkinson sit in state District Court in Havre Monday while awaiting Collins' sentencing hearing. Judge Dan Boucher sentenced Collins to three years probation for assault on a minor. Collins previousl pleaded guilty to the charge.

A state district judge sentenced a Havre man to three years probation for hitting a 9-month-old hard enough to cause a hemorrhage in the infant's left eye.

Judge Daniel Boucher sentenced Bruce Collins, born in 1989, to a three-year deferred imposition of sentence for felony assault on a minor. The sentence is part of a plea deal and if Collins abides by his conditions he can have the offense struck from his record.

Boucher said the reason for the sentence is that, aside from minor traffic violations and a marijuana-related conviction, Collins has a clean record. Boucher added that Collins' behavior during the course of this case has been exemplary. He did tell Collins that, should he violate his conditions, he may give him the maximum penalty allowed for such an offense.

A registered nurse at Northern Montana Hospital called police Feb. 6  to report that a child had "suspicious bruising" and a hemorrhage on his face.

The responding officer noticed the bruising on the left side of the child's face from his eye to his jawbone, a handprint on the left side of his face and bruising on the right side.

The nurses told the officer they were told the infant was with his mother's boyfriend, Collins, when he climbed out of his crib, fell down and hit his face on the dresser handles on the way down.

The infant was discharged from the hospital and an officer went to the home to photograph the room in which the injury happened.

A representative of Child Protective Services requested a follow-up emergency room visit some days later. The infant was X-rayed and the handprint on his face had become more defined by that time.

"It looked like a finger, middle finger, and pointer finger with an impression of a palm," court charging documents say.

The mother later told officers  that on the day of the injury she left for work early and received a call from Collins hours later telling her something was wrong with the child's face.

When interviewed by police, Collins said he didn't know what happened to the infant's face, but he thought he may have hit his face on the dresser.

The officer felt that, because of the severity of his injuries, the infant didn't just fall against the dresser.

"I have seen children (that) age fall against furniture and their injuries are not near as severe," the officer said.


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