Father sentenced in abuse case

GREENFIELD — A young father who violently shook his infant son has been sentenced to six years at Hancock County Community Corrections, and a judge ordered him to have no contact with the child until his release.

William A. McDonald, 21, of Shirley, pleaded guilty to neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury.

His 10-year sentence will be served as six years at community corrections and four years on probation, court records show. For every day McDonald serves with good behavior, he’ll get an extra day of credit, meaning his six-year sentence to community corrections could be completed in three years.

McDonald was arrested in May after admitting to a doctor he had shaken his son while baby-sitting him.

McDonald told investigators he lost control and shook his son, who was 3 months old at the time, when the baby wouldn’t stop crying.

The child’s mother, McDonald’s girlfriend, was at work, and McDonald was alone with the child when the baby began crying and wouldn’t stop no matter what he did to try to soothe him, McDonald told police.

The baby’s mother told police she had warned McDonald in the past about being too rough with the child, but she believed it was because he was a young, inexperienced father, not because he wanted to hurt the baby.

Days after the incident, the child was admitted to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis for excessive vomiting.

McDonald did not initially indicate knowing what could have caused the child’s condition, police said.

Doctors assessed the child and found evidence of trauma caused by shaking.

Doctors conducted a number of other tests to rule out any pre-existing conditions but found no evidence of an underlying illness, police said. McDonald then admitted what he had done, they said.

The child suffered seizures while at the hospital but was not expected to have long-term health problems.

Community corrections provides a variety of sentencing programs for inmates whose crimes do not require total incarceration.

Some inmates spend the night in the facility but are allowed to leave during the day for work; others are placed on home detention.

What program McDonald will be placed in will be left to the discretion of facility officials, court documents state.

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Noelle Steele is editor of the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3232 or nsteele@greenfieldreporter.com.