Douglas County prosecutors Monday filed a charge of child abuse against a 32-year-old Lawrence man after his 5-month-old daughter broke her arm last week.
But family members of Curtis J. Johnson on Monday said they believed the girl’s injuries were an accident and asked the public to withhold judgment.
“I know he wouldn’t do anything like that on purpose. He plays with (his daughters) like boys,” said Rebecca Wolfe, Johnson’s mother who lives in Eudora.
But police and prosecutors have accused Johnson of abusing the girl after she was taken to a doctor’s office last week with bone fractures. A judge has ordered Johnson — if he posts his $20,000 bond — to not be within five blocks of the girl or the family’s home in south-central Lawrence.
Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson charged Johnson with one count of felony child abuse or an alternate count of aggravated battery accusing him of grabbing the child last week in a manner that caused the fractures.
Branson said the filing of the charges excluded that the incident was "a simple accident."
Lawrence police said the girl was taken to Lawrence Memorial Hospital and then transferred to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., for treatment of multiple bone fractures. On Monday, Wolfe said the baby, who had two fractures on her arm, has been released from Children’s Mercy.
Wolfe said her son lived at the residence with the child and his girlfriend, the child’s mother. He is separated from his wife, who has two other daughters with Johnson.
The defendant’s wife, Deon Johnson also of Eudora, said her two children told her that their father never was abusive toward them.
“To them, in their eyes, he is still a perfect father,” she said.
She asked the public to withhold judgment until more facts come out in the case.
James George, Douglas County’s pro tem judge, scheduled another hearing for Johnson at 2 p.m. Tuesday with Chief Judge Robert Fairchild. Johnson did not protest the $20,000 bond during his first appearance Monday.