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Police Charge Simsbury Man With Injuring His Infant Son

"I knew that I hurt him and he cried out in pain," a Simsbury man told police during an investigation of his infant son's severe injuries.

A Simsbury man is in police custody after he was charged with causing severe injuries to his infant son.

Christopher R. Berman, 29, of Simsbury is being held on several charges involving two separate incidents when he allegedly caused physical injuries to his infant son.

According to an arrest warrant on file at the Superior Court in Enfield, Berman allegedly caused his infant son to fracture his right tibia and caused brusing on his body.

On Sept. 9, 2012, police were notified by the state Department of Children and Families that a young boy was at the Childrens Medical Center being treated for injuries that were "highly suspicious for child abuse," according to a warrant.

Berman lives in Simsbury with his parents and is the primary caregiver for his son after the boy's mother began working a new job in Boston during the week, according to warrants.

Police said Chase was home the night her son's leg was fractured and that she recalled hearing him crying at approximately 6:30 a.m., but the crying soon stopped. According to a warrant, Chase and Berman sleep in separate rooms and their son stays in a crib with Berman on the third floor of the home.

"I knew that I hurt him and he cried out in pain"

Approximately 2.5 hours later, Berman reportedly came downstairs and told Chase "Something is wrong with his leg," the warrant said. Berman suggested that their son "slept on it wrong."

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After taking the young boy to the hospital an X-ray revealed a fracture to the boy's right tibia. Doctor's also reported bruising on his spine, buttocks, and torso. All the bruises were in various stages of healing, the warrant said.

During the first interview with Berman, police said he attributed the injury to an accident while changing his son's diaper. Berman told investigators he "nearly dropped him when he was walking to the changing table and that when reaching out to catch him, he must have pulled to hard on his leg, causing the break."

Berman told investigators he was "frustrated with the baby" and admitted to handling his son "too aggressively," according to a warrant.

The bruises were a symptom of that frustration, Berman told police. "When he is frustrated, he 'squeezes him tight with his hands' and the squeezing action is usually accompanied by swearing," the warrant said.

During a second interview with police on Sept. 10, police described Berman as "evasive" with his answers but before long, his demeanor changed.

"After further questioning, Mr. Berman began to cry," the warrant said.

Berman told police he was frustrated by his living arrangements and that he doesn't know how to handle his stress. The story he told police the day before was not what actually happened.

Berman recalled waking up early that morning after not sleeping well the night before. When he heard his son crying, Berman "grabbed [his] right leg, just above the ankle, squeezed real hard and twisted it toward his head," the warrant said.

Berman told investigators he remembered being so angry he was "growling."

"I bent his leg forward toward his head and I heard a popping noise. I knew that I hurt him and he cried out in pain," Berman said in his statement.

The bruises were caused by intense squeezing, which Berman told police he did "out of frustration."

"At times when I'm holding [him] I find myself holding too tightly and noticed that I left finger marks on him," Berman said in a written statement. "This has been happening for a couple of weeks."

According to court records, this isn't the only instance of abuse by Berman that police are investigating.

In light of Berman's change in story after the Sept. 9 incident, investigators were able to take another look at another incident involving Berman earlier this year.

On July 29 police were called to Berman's home when his son suffered from cardiopulmonary arrest. After an initial investigation, the cause of the attack was undetermined.

According to the warrant the incident caused the boy "significant developmental problems, probably on the level of a child with Cerebral Palsy."

Although Berman attributed the episode to his son choking on his formula, he did admit to the same frustration and told police that at one point he grabbed his son by the chest "holding him tightly and gripping my fingers into his body," the warrant said.

Berman then "threw him into the bed" and told police his crying "got worse."

What exactly caused his son's sudden heart failure remains under investigation but shortly after the encounter Berman described to investigators paramedics arrived to find a young boy who wasn't breathing and had no pulse. Paramedics were able to revive the boy but the incident was severe enough to cause permanent damage.

Although he never admitted to causing his son's sudden heart failure, police said Berman did admit to handling his son "in an aggressive and abusive manner within 30 seconds of [his son] suffering this medical emergency," the warrant said.

Berman is charged with second degree assault and risk of injury to a minor stemming from the Sept. 9 incident and first degree reckless endangerment and risk of injury to a minor stemming from the July 29 incident.

Lucy O'Toole November 08, 2012 at 08:52 PM
what a demented sick bully. I wish I could spend some time alone in a room with him. that poor little boy now has to deal with developmental issues because of him. God bless him, his mother, and his grandparents.
Simzbury November 08, 2012 at 09:01 PM
This guy is the scum of the earth!
nicola lightner November 09, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Get him out of Simsbury and into jail.
margaux jones March 12, 2013 at 02:30 AM
All the comments thus far are from angry people reacting to the obvious innocent victim here.....we all feel a sickness in the pit of our stomaches when we hear of babies being injured and harmed by their adult caretakers. I agree. However I know Chris and have known him for years. He is not scum. I feel most regrettful that Chris felt he could not reach out to anyone and share his feelings, and ask for help. I place some blame on Chase, his parents and close friends for not recognizing his level of stress and need for help, relief and some time-outs. When things of this volume happen in families it's due to many dynamics. Other people have played their part in this tragic outcome. I challenge you to consider other people living within this home and those who were close for not being approachable or available or open enough for chris to reach out to. Why did no one realize his stress level and depression?Families and friends are supposed 2 be there for one another....4 respite and support, a shoulder to lean on, an ear. Chris found himself alone with enormous stress. I beg of all people to slow down and take notice of others we love around us. Ask how they are and how u can help when we know they are going through a rough spot. Love thy neighbor!!!!! We are all responsibile....we are all protectors of the babies, children and disabled in our midst. We can all prevent this. Before you point a finger, go offer support to someone u know who is going though a rough time!
Rick April 02, 2013 at 11:15 AM
Your argument disgusts me. I don't care how tired you are, how frustrated you get, or how many times in the same hour you've had to tend to your baby, as a parent that is your job. I know plenty of single parents, with a very limited support system, and unsurprisingly they acknowledge their responsibility in taking care of another human being and have not, nor would ever break their baby's leg or almost squeeze them to death.
Travis Brown May 28, 2013 at 08:31 PM
First of all, I 100% disagree with the actions that Chris did. I believe that all of his reasons are true, however not justifiable by physical harm. But Rick, you may be disgusted all you want, and have the one sided view that suits you best, but margaux is right. I knew Chris while working with him and came to know him very well. The man worked a 40 hour week in 4 days, 6-4, then worked another 20 hours on the weekend at a local coffee shop. Anyone who knew him at either location knew he was a kind hearted and visibly worn down guy. To say that this man was irresponsible was an uneducated, unwitnessed, arrogant and altogether ridiculous statement. The man's sole goal was to provide for his baby, to get out of his apartment and give his son a shot at a better chance than he had. Yes, he made a mistake, and you can site me for making a larger deal seem small, but we all make them. If anything, I feel guilty; guilty that I didn't keep in touch with him and make myself available to maybe give him a day off from being the provider, from having to take on all of his problems and challenges within the tiny window of a 24 hour day as well as care for and nurture a child. You may look at this story and think "monster", "maniac", "sick", and if thats as far as your understanding of mankind is and you feel comfortable being a sheep towards a more empathetic and deeper sense of the actions of man then so be it. I choose to acknowledge the wrong and notice the mistakes so that if ever a situation like this arises, maybe I can be the catalyst that causes something like this to dissipate. That, if anything, is what a sad story like this should evoke.

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