Archive for Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lawrence man charged after 2-month-old is injured

September 29, 2009


A Lawrence man, accused he injured a 2-month-old girl, has been charged with one count of felony aggravated battery.

Zachary Bennett, 25, was arrested Monday and had his first appearance Tuesday in Douglas County District Court.

"He reported he was watching the girl at the family's central Lawrence residence, while his wife away, when the injury occurred," said Kim Murphree, Lawrence police spokeswoman. "Initially, the man reported the incident as an accident."

Officers were called at 1 a.m. Sept. 14 to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, where hospital workers said the infant had suspicious injuries, Murphree said. The girl was transferred to a Kansas City hospital for treatment due to the seriousness of her injuries.


OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 4 months ago

To watch a two-year-old one must be more mature than a two-year-old. Even at 25, some fail to attain that measure.

alm77 8 years, 4 months ago

OE, that was a 2 MONTH old. Can't even begin to comprehend it. The only thing they do at that age is eat, sleep, poop and cry. If the crying bothers you so much, and you can't figure out what to do, you can leave them in the crib and it doesn't hurt them a bit.

llindy31 8 years, 4 months ago

I have to say that I know this guy, he is a close friend and I'm really disappointed in this paper for printing this story without all the facts and for printing his name. He has not been CONVICTED, only CHARGED. By printing his name, even if the charges are dropped, he is at risk for losing his job. It was an accident, like all parents have, and the little girl in question is his own daughter. It's not like we're talking about some abusive boyfriend who just came in angry and hit his girlfriend's child. The police are even using evidence of a broken collarbone, a residual fracture from her birth, as evidence that he hurt her more than once. This was in poor taste and I'm really ticked that this was printed.

Steve Jacob 8 years, 4 months ago

Injuries to a two month old can be an accident, so we all should hold off judgment. But also LMH I am sure has to error on the side of caution by calling police. It's been two weeks, I hope the baby is home.

Christine Anderson 8 years, 4 months ago

Mr. Gilchrist, you are being a jerk. This is a baby, for heaven's sake! Whether it is determined the baby's injuries were the result of abuse or truly an accident, a two-month old baby is very vunerable, and must, must, have the best care available as soon as possible. I can't believe you would have a problem with it if this little baby went by Life Flight. If the father is innocent, and this was indeed an accident, then I hope he is vindicated. If he is lying to cover up abuse( as often happens), give him some of the same!

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 4 months ago

"there was some reason for the report"

Often the "reason" is that someone would rather err on the side of caution rather than lose their job for failure to report.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 4 months ago

I apologize for my first post. It may not have been appropriate.

Bladerunner 8 years, 4 months ago

As a parent I can't imagine "accidently" causing an injury that would warrant sending a two month old to a major trauma center in Kansas City. Prayers for the family.

middlemgmt 8 years, 4 months ago

llindy - thanks for putting another side to this story. Can you tell us if the child is home yet? Some of us in the community would like to focus on the well being of the baby and let the courts figure the rest of it out.

Onasis 8 years, 4 months ago

Doctors can tell by the stage of healing whether or not the injury is 2 months old or is brand new. So if the collar bone is in fact the injury they are suspicious of, there will be records of that, and it should be cleared. If this person is lying (as so many are in these cases) to cover up and there are other or more injuries than just that (as there obviously are since the baby had to be taken to the hospital) , then the investigation will continue. Either way, an investigation is warranted.

coolmom 8 years, 4 months ago

the hospital is a mandatory reporter so if they suspect that the injuries caused by dad are not accidental even if there is only a slight chance of abuse they have to report. hope all goes well.

costello 8 years, 4 months ago

"Either way, an investigation is warranted."

If he has been charged, the investigation is done. Right?

momofk 8 years, 4 months ago

I sure hope this isn't the husband of the woman who took my child's pictures! This really disgusts me, no person could "accidentally" hurt a 2 month old. The guys' picture in the paper says alot about him. Creepy!

aa2468 8 years, 4 months ago

middlemgmt - The baby is at home with her grandparents until all this blows over and she is going to be fine.

Costello – There has already been a police investigation.

Momofk – you really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. I have not seen the picture. But I definitely know what he looks like in person. And he definitely is not creepy and while he may look a bit… alternative, he is not in the least bit scary.

I didn't know they had posted a picture of him and it is even worse than putting up his name. He will be found innocent because it was an accident. I cannot really go into details but suffice to say that what happened is not that uncommon if you are walking and holding a baby. The police started badgering him very late at night when he had had no sleep and were extremely threatening and accusatory towards him after he had spent half the night crying over concern and guilt (he did injure her, but it was an accident and I really wish I could go into it) about what happened to the baby. BTW I agree with everyone about the fact that this should have been reported to authorities since the injuries could be signs of abuse, which they are not. As others have said, it is important to err on the side of caution. This has just been blown WAY out of proportion.

He is the most wonderful father and sweet-tempered person I have ever met. He loves his family and is willing to do whatever to protect them. He has never had any run-ins with the law whatsoever (aside from maybe some parking/speeding tickets from years ago). I am very upset with LJ World for posting this and his picture because he was just charged, not found guilty. And remember everyone, innocent until proven guilty. BTW, he has always stated that this was an accident. The police spokeswoman makes it sound like he had later admitted to something else, which is not the case.

I at least hope that LJ World will post when the charges are dropped or he is found innocent because this is really damaging to their family when it was honestly an accident.

aassddff 7 years, 4 months ago

I know this family. I know both parents for some time. He wouldn't ever do such a thing, and he does protect his family (even those he shouldn't). However, I would suggest that authorities look at the wife.

momofk 8 years, 4 months ago

I walked around holding my child all the time just like every other parent and have never hurt her. I don't know how hurting a child while holding him/her is not all that uncommon???? I hope the child will be ok and will not be hurt again because obviously one time is one time too many. Whatever the case the guy should not go without punishment.

GardenMomma 8 years, 4 months ago

What did he do? How can you possibly be walking and holding your child and hurt her badly enough to need medical care? Did he run into a doorway or something? Or maybe fall while holding her? Those are the only things I can think of that might happen and trust me, those are NOT common.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 8 years, 4 months ago

People: tragic as it sounds, sometimes babies are dropped on accident. Have you ever tripped on something and dropped what you were carrying, or fell on something as a result? At two months of age, it takes little to severely hurt a child.

meggers 8 years, 4 months ago

I'm sure there are many more cases of alleged child abuse that occur in Lawrence, yet all of those cases don't make the news. Is it because formal charges were filed in this case? If so, why aren't charges filed more often, rather than just having Child Protective Services remove the children?

aa2468 8 years, 4 months ago

momofk - I hope you realize that if he is found innocent or the charges are dropped, which will end up being the case, he has had far more punishment than he deserved just from this article, let alone all the lawyer's fees, bail, potential job loss, and separation from his children, whom he cares for immensely, due to an accident.

GardenMomma - He has 3 children, and this is the first time anything like this has happened. So it is obviously not common in their household, but it isn't shockingly uncommon in the grand scheme of things.

OldEnuf2BYurDad - A VERY good and insightful point!

aa2468 8 years, 4 months ago

meggers - perhaps people don't take their children to the doctor or hospital and another family member just calls CPS on them. It seems like the hospital is where the reporters are.

momofk 8 years, 4 months ago

Far more punishment than he deserved??? Ok, i'm going to stop wasting my time on this's rediculous!

meggers 8 years, 4 months ago


I wondered if CPS wasn't even involved in this case, which might explain why it's being handled strictly as a criminal matter. I agree with you that people should not rush to judgment- none of us knows what happened and it could very well have been an accident. I think a person would have to be pretty messed up to begin with to have any motivation to harm a little 2-month-old baby and from what you've said, this guy has never been abusive or displayed questionable behavior towards his family before.

I was just wondering about what appears to be the LJW's double-standard about printing the name of this guy, but not the names of the other people that have actually been found guilty of abuse or neglect. If it's a criminal vs. a CPS issue, then I think SRS needs to get their act together and start actually reporting criminal behavior. I've heard in the past that they're supposed to try very hard not to split up families, which for some kids, seems like a recipe for disaster.

Sorry for my digression. I hope the baby is fine and if your friend is innocent, I hope he can get past all of this.

aa2468 8 years, 4 months ago

momofk - You know, there are the occasional people who trip and fall down the stairs while holding their baby. Should they all be thrown in jail and subjected to the same level of scrutiny that the accused is being treated with? This example is worse than what the accused actually did but it is an entirely explainable event that could result in serious injuries and obviously would be an accident (similar to what happened with my friend). So the question is should someone who falls down the stairs with their child be thrown in jail and charged with aggravated battery, potentially lose their job, and have their family destroyed and their children taken away? I hope you can at least understand that their would be instances where perhaps the person should not be punished because accidents happen and they are already wracked with guilt and punishing themselves over what happened.

meggers - I agree with you. If my friend were found guilty of the crime. Fine, print his name. If the courts think he did it, then he did it as far as public records show. But we cannot just go posting things like charges willy-nilly and giving him the reputation of a child-abuser when that is simply not the case and there may be repercussions to this for his family and children who love him.

aa2468 8 years, 4 months ago

Since his wife has come forward and told the story, I think it is ok for me to share this info:

momofk 8 years, 4 months ago

aa2468-Well I just saw that he was actually charged. So what excuses do you have for him now??

GoodMorningStarshine 8 years, 4 months ago

Many, many thanks to those who are in support of our family. For the record, absolutely NO abuse (INCLUDING to me or anyone else) has ever occurred, nor did it in this incident. He is extremely mild-mannered and a wonderful person who has filled his family with love and beauty. He tripped over our son's toy and fell while holding our daughter and that is how she was injured, though not extensively by any means. We brought her to the hospital because we were concerned parents, unaware that they would seek to criminalize us for trying to protect our child. That's the end of the story.

There have been threats by investigators desperately trying to throw around allegations and we have kept our strong bond as a family and are determined to whether all the false information out there. This story is a gross invasion of our privacy but I am fully aware that it is purely journalistic and I respect the journalism community.

Our children are perfectly fine. Our daughter does NOT have a severe injury as the article states, she merely bumped her head in the fall. And we are incredibly thankful to have many in our community who are warm and loving people and who would stand up for us during this incredibly emotional time. We are eternally grateful.

ralphralph 7 years, 4 months ago

My wife is the mother of our four children, and she would bite your head off if you tried to harm one of them. One day we were at the Capitol in Topeka for an outdoors event, and she was walking with one of our boys when she tripped and slipped and, despite her best efforts, just flat-out dropped him. He landed on the grass on a level spot, and got the breath knocked out of him, but was not injured ... but we couldn't be sure at the time, and it was very upsetting to her. If the child had landed on the edge of a curb or sidewalk, or on some sort of rock or debris, he could have been hurt badly enough to require a trip to the emergency room. I shudder to think that my wife would have been suspected of abuse in such an event. People are human, and accidents happen even when you are being careful.

These abuse charges are very troubling, which ever way they go. If a child really is abused, and no action is taken against the abuser, that seems a tragedy. If, however, there is no genuine abuse but the parent is charged with abuse, that seems just as much a tragedy. I certainly hope they had done their full investigation and didn't base this charge on one of those medical reports that simply says the injuries did not appear to be consistent with an accident, when they don't know what really happened or are just covering their tail by making the report. Tough business, as I said, either way.

Hope this works out in a fair and just way.

SWJayhawk13 7 years, 4 months ago

Am I the only that that think it's a little sketchy that he would confess to doing something he didn't do? If he really didn't intentionally hurt the little girl, why would he tell police he did? I wouldn't admit to doing something I hadn't done, particularly if it was illegal. That is probably the only thing that sticks out to me as being particularly odd in this case. I'm not passing judgment either way, hopefully this is all figured out soon.

dgs 7 years, 1 month ago

SW, how do you know what he told the police? I heard he pled no contest and didn't get jail time, but I haven't heard anything else. If there's more info out there I'd be interested in in. AASSDDFF, why do you suspect the mother?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.