Father charged in abuse of 3-month-old girl

2011-02-25T00:05:00Z 2011-02-28T14:44:23Z Father charged in abuse of 3-month-old girlANNE JUNGEN | ajungen@lacrossetribune.com La Crosse Tribune
February 25, 2011 12:05 am  • 

A La Crosse father admitted to crushing his infant daughter's chest hard enough to hear and feel her rib crack, according to court records filed Thursday.

Gavin Attoe also confessed to bending the 3-month-old girl's knees to her chest to deplete the air from her lungs to halt her crying.

Prosecutors in La Crosse County Circuit Court charged Attoe, 29, with five counts of physical abuse of a child for injuring his daughter between Oct. 29 and Feb. 16 at his North Side home.

Attoe, who is in remission from Hodgkin's lymphoma, blamed his medication for his loss of control.

Attoe and his wife took the infant to Franciscan Skemp Medical Center on Feb. 16 after the child began vomiting and refused to drink from a bottle.

X-rays revealed the child suffered fractures to her skull, ribs, arms and legs. Doctors also noted bruising on her abdomen, back and cheek, according to the complaint.

Attoe described for investigators several ways he "may have" caused the infant's injuries during her bouts of inconsolable crying and when she would not cooperate while he was dressing her, according to the complaint.

He said he forced her leg to her face after the infant kicked his surgical incision, the complaint states. Attoe recalled her crying in pain.

Attoe said he pulled his daughter's arms behind her back when she was flailing as he tried to dress her.

The baby had difficulty sleeping after the incident where her rib cracked, Attoe said, but he did not tell his wife or take the infant to the hospital.

"(Attoe) ... said he felt that he failed as a parent," the complaint states.

Attoe also told investigators he dropped his daughter two feet into a baby bathtub Feb. 15 after he grew dizzy, the complaint stated.

He returns to court March 9 for a preliminary hearing.

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