Couple sentenced in OC child abuse case involving infant

From staff reports

An Oil City couple has been sentenced in a case of child abuse involving an infant.

Ashley Marie Caldwell, 23, was sentenced last week to serve one to 24 months (less one day) in the Venango County jail on a charge of recklessly endangering another person. She received credit for 137 days she had already served.

Brennen Blauser, 21, was sentenced late last month to serve 12 to 24 months (less one day) in the Venango County jail followed by three years probation on a charge of aggravated assault-victim 6 years old or younger. He received credit for 246 days he had already served in jail.

The charges stem from an Oil City police investigation that began in June when police responded to UPMC Northwest to a Venango County Children and Youth Services caseworker about a report by emergency room staff of suspected child abuse.

Police documented and photographed several visible injuries sustained by the infant, the criminal complaint said.

The level of injuries sustained by the infant were such that he was taken to UPMC Children’s Hospital’s Child Advocacy Center in Pittsburgh for a comprehensive exam, the complaint said.

According to the complaint, Police and a CYS advocate later spoke with Caldwell and Blauser at their home, where Blauser admitted to having been rough while feeding and burping the infant.

Caldwell separately said that Blauser would become frustrated while feeding the child and would become rough and forceful with the bottle. She said she had verbally admonished Blauser for his behavior, the complaint said.

The examination from the Child Advocacy Center said the child had suffered multiple oral injuries, hemorrhaging in both eyes, abrasions in various states of healing to both ears and additional abrasions and bruising about the face, the complaint said.

A follow-up examination revealed fractures in various stages of healing to the left tibia and several ribs, the complaint said.