Woonsocket man arrested for abusing five-month-old baby

Woonsocket man arrested for abusing five-month-old baby

WOONSOCKET – A man who was babysitting a five-month-old infant was arrested by Woonsocket Police on Sunday, March 26, after officers say they determined he had slapped the baby several times because it would not stop crying.

Kristofer Bernier, 25, of 120 East School St., was charged with first-degree child abuse after the baby was found unconscious and unresponsive.

Police say they were called to Bernier's East School Street home on Sunday and told the infant had fallen off the couch. Rescue personnel advised officers that the infant had facial bruising and a hematoma.

The baby was taken to Landmark Medical Center and transferred to Hasbro Children's Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. His condition is not known at this time, but the Department of Children Youth and Families reported Monday that the baby nearly died. DCYF notified the Office of the Child Advocate of the report. Officials are investigating allegations of abuse and neglect.

The family had no prior contact with DCYF. Bernier was previously known to the department. Due to confidentiality laws, officials say they are prohibited from sharing additional information.

"DCYF’s highest priority is the safety and well-being of all children," states the release.

Bernier is reportedly a roommate of the child's parents and was babysitting at the time of the incident. He initially told police that the injuries were caused by the infant falling off the couch, but detectives determined that he had slapped the baby several times because he would not stop crying, according to a release from Woonsocket Police Department. Police said Bernier told them he "lost it."

Bernier was arraigned in Sixth District Court on Monday and was held on $25,000 bail with surety.

Rhode Islanders are required by law to report known or suspected cases of child abuse or neglect to DCYF within 24 hours of becoming aware of such abuse or neglect. Call 800-RI-CHILD to report known or suspected cases of child abuse.