Following a four-month investigation, Eugene police have arrested a man on allegations that he injured his 12-week-old son by violently shaking him.
Robert Christopher Morales, 26, was arraigned Friday in Lane County Circuit Court on a felony charge of first-degree assault, in connection with a serious head injury that police say his son suffered sometime last spring at Morales’s west Eugene home.
Doctors and police learned of the injury in mid-June, days before the baby underwent surgery at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, police spokeswoman Melinda McLaughlin said.
The child, now 7 months old, spent about two weeks in the hospital before being released. He is now living with his mother, McLaughlin said.
A Lane County grand jury indicted Morales on the assault charge earlier this week. Eu-gene police ar-rested him on Thursday. He is being held in the Lane County Jail.
Under state law, anyone convicted of first-degree assault faces a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 7½ years.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infants who are violently shaken often suffer from shaken baby syndrome, a head trauma that can result in lifelong disabilities and, in some cases, death.
Between 2003 and 2006, eight Oregon children died from shaken baby syndrome. Six of the suspects in those deaths were the victims’ fathers, while another was a boyfriend of the baby’s mother, according to the state Department of Human Services.