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Arverne dad charged with shaking baby excessively

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A 24-year-old Arverne man was charged with assault last week after his 8-month-old son suffered life-threatening injuries, including bleeding in the brain, Queens DA Richard Brown said.

The child, who is unresponsive to his environment, has since been diagnosed with Shaken Baby Syndrome, the DA said.

“According to the charges, the infant suffered severe brain injuries, a lacerated liver and healing and acute rib fractures as a result of being violently shaken and punched — grave physical injuries for anyone, let alone a baby less than a year old,” Brown said in a statement. “It is shocking to consider that his father is charged with inflicting such brutality and suffering on one as young and innocent as his own child.”

Saul Cortez, 24, of 87-10 Rockaway Beach Blvd. in Arverne, was arraigned April 7 before Queens Criminal Court Judge Lenora Gerald on charges of assault and endangering the welfare of a child, Brown said.

Cortez, ordered held without bail, faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the charges, Brown said.

Brown said the infant was in “grave condition” and the charges would be upgraded to murder if he did not survive.

Just before 12 a.m. April 5, 8-month-old Mario Patrice was taken to Schneider Children’s Hospital and diagnosed with Shaken Baby Syndrome after tests revealed bleeding in the brain, brain injury, retinal hemorrhages, lacerations to the liver and healing and acute rib fractures, Brown said.

Monica Patrice, the baby’s mother, left the home she shared with Cortez for about 20 minutes earlier April 5, leaving Cortez alone with the infant and another child, a 2-year-old, Brown said.

When Patrice left, the baby was crying and in normal health, the DA said.

But when she returned, Cortez was on the phone calling for help and the baby was unresponsive, limp and not breathing, Brown said.

Cortez allegedly told police the baby was crying and he became frustrated and angry and repeatedly shook the baby and forcefully and repeatedly punched the baby in the back, the DA said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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