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Mother charged with shaking infant son

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Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

A 19-year-old Fayette County woman has been charged with causing near-fatal injuries to her 14-month-old son by shaking the child.

Jessica Elizabeth Rhodes of 504 Second St., Georges Township, is charged with aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of a child, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person in Masontown District Judge Randy Abraham's office.

Rhodes caused “near-fatal injuries to the child's brain” on Dec. 1, according to a criminal complaint.

The boy suffered brain bleeding and swelling, and eye hemorrhaging, state police at Uniontown said.

Questioned earlier this week in Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Rhodes admitted that she “became frustrated that the victim would not stop crying (after falling), so she started to shake the victim,” Trooper Daniel Boyd wrote in a police affidavit.

“Rhodes advised that after she shook the victim, he stopped crying and began to shake on his own,” according to the affidavit. “Rhodes advised that the victim became unresponsive, so she called 911.”

She said she had difficulty explaining to a Fayette County 911 operator where she lived in the Jarrett's Mobile Home Park, so she and another person took the child to Uniontown Hospital, police said.

In a written statement, Rhodes repeated that the child fell and would not stop crying, and she shook him.

After the boy began to shake, his “eyes got big, and he was not responsive,” she added in her statement.

“Rhodes advised that she did not even realize what she had done until it was too late,” according to the affidavit.

As of Friday afternoon, her preliminary hearing remained to be scheduled in Abraham's office.

She was jailed in lieu of posting $10,000 bond after her arraignment before District Judge Mike DeFino.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or

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