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Sun Apr 10 21:55:03 EST 2005


there is very little dispute that vigorously shaking an infant will often
result in specific pattern of trauma.  But from what I have seen the
occurance of such a pattern of trauma is not sufficient to say with any
certainty that abuse has occured and was the cause of that trauma.  Is this
a correct assumption?  What are the prevailing opinions in the scientific
community?

To assist you in offering an opinion which is relevent to this particular
case I will explain the story which was told by the man who was accused and
convicted.  He claims that he was sitting on the bed with his daughter (6
months old) when the phone rang in the other room.  He picked his daughter
up and as he ran to pick up the phone he tripped and fell on top of her.
She was unconscious and he immediately called 911.

No inconsistencies were ever found in his story, in fact, the investigating
officer even testified that there was a ripple in the carpet where he
claimed to have tripped.  Also, this man has no history of violence and he
was supported by his wife and her family through out the trial.  Further, in
this case there was no bruising around the arms or ribs, which I have read
is quite common in shaken baby cases, and the child had no soft tissue or
spinal trauma in her neck and back.  How could she have been shaken with
enough force to have caused such severe injury without also having suffered
injuries to her neck and back?

I would truely appreciate any responses to these questions? As I said I am
quite concerned that this man was unfairly convicted.

Eric Henriksen






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