Accused baby shaker pleads no contest to child abuse charges
The man accused of shaking a three-month-old baby causing serious physical harm plead no contest to the charge of second degree child abuse Friday.
Steven Lawrence Cronk, 27, of Boyne City, faces a maximum of ten years in prison on the charge.
The Charlevoix County Prosecutor said Cronk's attorney indicated the reason for the no contest plea was to protect his client from potential civil liability.
According to the Prosecutor, the court read an affidavit that indicates a 911 call was made requesting an ambulance due to a three-month-old baby not breathing. Paramedics arrived and found the child in distress and not breathing.
The child was taken to McLaren Hospital in Petoskey then airlifted to DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids.
According to the prosecutor, the child was alone with Cronk and her young siblings at the time the injuries occurred.
A pediatrician at the hospital wrote in a report that "(These) are signs of severe whiplash injury. Whiplash injury to an infant can occur through violent shaking, shaking ending with an impact, or single violent maneuvers ending with impact. ...I believe the (the child) was abusively head injured on the afternoon of Friday July 12."
The Prosecutor says Cronk was not given an plea deal due to the serious injury of his actions as well as the overwhelming evidence against him.
Sentencing is scheduled for January 31. A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is treated so for sentencing purposes.