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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 18, 2014

Man Sentenced In White Plains Federal Court To 15 Months In Prison For Reckless Assault Of Baby On Grounds Of West Point

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that STEWART DANIEL HARBIN, 30, was sentenced yesterday to 15 months in prison by United States District Judge Cathy Seibel for his 2012 reckless assault of a baby while on the grounds of West Point Military Academy (“West Point”). The sentencing followed HARBIN’S guilty plea on March 13, 2014.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in related court proceedings:

On October 17, 2012, at approximately 10:40 p.m., emergency personnel at West Point responded to a 911 call from the defendant’s home, a residence located within West Point. The emergency personnel transported the defendant’s 10-week-old infant child (the “Baby”) from the residence to Keller Army Community Hospital (“KACH”), West Point’s hospital. After examination at KACH, the Baby, at approximately 1:30 a.m. on October 18, 2013, was transported, via ambulance, to Westchester County Medical Center (AWCMC@). There, medical personnel determined that the Baby had rib fractures and an intracranial hemorrhage. Tests, including radiological studies, revealed rib fractures in at least two stages of healing. There were eight sub-acute (healing) fractures and one acute (new) rib fracture. The healing fractures were determined to be between 10 days and six weeks old, and were determined to have occurred on multiple occasions as determined by the different stages of healing. In addition, the tests performed on the Baby revealed evidence of a prior intracranial injury.

On March 13, 2014, Harbin pleaded guilty to recklessly assaulting the Baby. During the plea proceeding, the defendant stated that, “on or about October 17, 2012, in the County of Orange, New York, on the land belonging to West Point Military Academy, I, Stewart Harbin, caused serious physical injury to the brain of my son [name omitted], who was less than five years of age, specifically, approximately ten weeks old, by slamming or throwing the child so as to impact the child’s head on a hard surface or object.” HARBIN said, “Specifically, I put [the Baby] down hard onto a hard infant seat that had no give. We used this hard infant seat to secure him on the couch and within his crib and later in which I put [the Baby] down hard, causing his head to impact the hard surface of the infant seat, causing the brain to bleed.” At the plea proceeding, the Government underscored its view that, although HARBIN had admitted that he was the actor who acted upon the Baby and caused the injuries, the Government did not accept the notion that the brain injuries were sustained by putting the Baby down hard onto an infant seat. Judge Seibel inquired of Harbin: “When you say you put the infant down hard on the hard infant seat, do you mean that you slammed the child down or threw the child down?” Harbin stated, “Yes, ma’am.”

In sentencing HARBIN to 15 months’ imprisonment, Judge Seibel described the offense conduct as “horrifying.” Judge Seibel granted the defendant’s request to enter a residential treatment program for service-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder before he begins serving his sentence. Judge Seibel ordered HARBIN to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons in six months. The Court also imposed a term of supervised release of three years.

Mr. Bharara praised the efforts of the FBI, the West Point Military Police, and the Westchester District Attorney’s Office in connection with this investigation.

The case is being handled by the White Plains Division. Assistant United States Attorney Marcia S. Cohen is in charge of the prosecution.

Press Release Number: 
14-380
Updated May 15, 2015