Hastings day care operator charged with assaulting 4-month-old child

The woman who runs an in-home day care center in Hastings has been charged with assaulting a 4-month-old child.

Court documents show 37-year-old Megan Appert is charged with first-degree assault causing great bodily harm and third-degree assault with a victim under the age of four years old.

A criminal complaint states a 4-month-old was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit for a subdural brain bleed on Jan. 13. The child’s mother said the child became ill while at the day care run by Appert.

Text messages show that Appert texted the child’s mother at around noon on Jan. 12, saying the child was being fussy and inconsolable and asking if there was something wrong with the boy’s neck. After more messages from Appert, the boy’s mother left work early and found the child already in his car seat, crying.

The complaint states the boy slept after getting home but then vomited when he woke up, prompting his mother to take him to the hospital.

On Jan. 14, Appert told law enforcement she thought the boy’s neck was stiff after he only slept for 45 minutes in the morning and had an abnormal crying sound but denied knowing how the child was injured. A week later, Appert said she “wiggled” the boy out of a chair before his nap and reenacting how she lifted and shook the chair for law enforcement, the complaint states.

After her reenactment, the complaint states Appert started crying, saying, “I didn’t do this, did I?” and then telling her husband, “I might have done it.”

A physician said the child’s injuries were far beyond what’s appropriate in routine handling of a child and said Appert’s explanation didn’t fully explain the child’s injuries, noting that the child also had retinal hemorrhages that come from shearing forces, usually from abusive head trauma.

Cellphone data also showed that Appert had made internet searches for sleep training a child on Jan. 12, then for “shaken baby syndrome” and “dontshake.org” on Jan. 14 and Jan. 15.

The child was hospitalized until Jan. 21 and suffered numerous seizures that now require medication to control, according to the complaint.

Appert’s next hearing is set for July 13. She’s not currently in custody.

If convicted of the first-degree assault charge, Appert could face up to 20 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. If convicted of third-degree assault, she could face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.