September 27, 2017 08:15 PM
A Shakopee day care provider who admitted to investigators she lied about the nature of a severe head injury to an infant in her care now faces criminal charges in Scott County.
Fifty-four-year-old Laurie Ann Gregor had initially told investigators she had been watching a total of eight children on Sept. 14 when she attempted to lift an infant from an exersaucer, and the infant felt "limp."
When her version of the story was questioned, she admitted four days later that she lied, and instead had dropped the baby while washing a bottle. She also admitted she had been watching 10 children, rather than eight, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday. Forty-five minutes elapsed from the time she estimated she dropped the child until she placed a 911 call.
But two doctors who reviewed the injuries sustained by 6-month-old Nolan McNally said they were inconsistent with such a drop. They instead diagnosed the injuries as non-accidental or from abusive head trauma, and one doctor told an investigator they were life-threatening.
Nolan's family issued a statement Wednesday: "We want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support and ask you keep our family in your thoughts and prayers."
Nolan had been treated at Hennepin County Medical Center.
Gregor was charged with one count of first-degree assault-great bodily harm, one two counts of malicious punishment of a child, one involving a child under 4 years of age. They are all felonies. She faces up to 35 years in prison and/or up to $60,000 in fines.
Gregor's attorney, Mark McDonough said his client is innocent of intentionally harming the boy.
"The child was injured in an accidental fall," he said. "No one could be sicker or more worried about it than my client and her family.
"My client completely admits she's at fault, but it was purely an accident. To suggest that she would intentionally harm a child goes against everything everyone knows about her to be true. She just doesn't have it in her to hurt a child."
McDonough said Gregor has been a day care provider in Shakopee for 26 years and has served "probably 100-plus families who still send her Christmas cards every year."
The criminal complaint details that Gregor initially said she found the infant in the exersaucer "limp" but breathing, and that his head fell to the side and his eyes had rolled backwards. She said the breathing was "very fast or a weird pace." She said she quickly shook him four to five times, attempted to spray water on his face and attempted CPR.
Gregor said she then called her husband, who told her to call 911. Instead, she called a daughter-in-law, a daughter, a son and the child's mother – each of whom urged her to call 911 – before calling authorities, according to the complaint.
McDonough said he couldn't answer for why his client waited as long as she did to call 911.
"I really don't know all of that yet, other than to say she absolutely wishes she would have called right away," McDonough said. "She says she didn't see the child's head hit the floor and she comforted the child, who didn't respond. If she could hit replay, she would have called 911 instantaneously."
Investigators poked a hole in Gregor's story while questioning her daughter-in-law, who had told authorities she advised Gregor to call 911 and was "shocked" when she learned Gregor had not done so after recognizing something was wrong.
The complaint says that police then served the daughter-in-law a search warrant for her cell phone, at which point she confessed to authorities she and her husband had been at Gregor's home earlier in the day, and there was more to the story.
A text message on the daughter-in-law's phone revealed a note to her husband saying Gregor had told her she placed the infant on a counter while washing a bottle, and the child squirmed and fell to the floor, according to the complaint.
In an interview with authorities Sept. 18, four days after the incident, Gregor admitted she had lied, saying she did so because she was over-the-limit of children in her care, and she panicked.
Gregor's day care license, suspended Sept. 15, the day after the incident, permitted her to care for no more than 10 children under school age, and no more than four infants and toddlers. Gregor was caring for two infants and three toddlers that day, the complaint states.
She allowed officers to videotape a re-enactment of the incident, during which she showed how the child fell from her arms and onto the floor. The child began crying and then making "gurgling" sounds, she said, so she put him in the exersaucer and made lunch. She said she returned to find the child's head slumped over, according to the complaint.
Rather than seek medical attention, she took the child to the bedroom for a nap. While there, according to the complaint, she attempted to "jostle him up and down" to wake him, and "pounded on his chest" and blew into his mouth despite that he was breathing.
Two doctors who reviewed the re-enactment and the child's injuries reported multiple areas of bleeding on the brain and retinal hemorrhaging. One doctor reported a skull fracture and scalp swelling with multiple hemorrhages. An elevated glucose level was detected, which, according to the doctor via the complaint, is "not an uncommon response to stress and/or traumatic brain injury."
The child also had bruising on the left forearm, evidence of broken capillaries on the back of his legs, bruises on the front of the lower right leg and on the right calf, which was consistent with a grip mark, the complaint states, citing the doctor's report.
The doctor's report stated the injuries were likely non-accidental, consistent with abusive head trauma and were life-threatening.
Gregor posted $75,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 17.
Updated: September 27, 2017 08:15 PM
Created: September 27, 2017 12:13 PM
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