YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A USS Kitty Hawk sailor’s wife was convicted of abusing her infant Tuesday but won’t serve any more time in jail, a Japanese court decided Tuesday.

Judge Takashi Chubachi said he wanted to believe Natasha Yvette Anderson’s promise “to do right by her child” and suspended the 2½-year jail sentence Anderson received in the Yokohama District Court in Yokosuka.

Anderson, 20, was convicted of “bodily injury against a child” after repeatedly shaking her then month-old infant in their Yokosuka apartment while her husband was away at training.

Anderson “violently” shook her daughter three times between Nov. 1-8 and also threw her on the bed, according to court documents. The baby sustained a brain contusion and assorted fractures and was comatose when Anderson took her to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka on Dec. 6.

Anderson was “trying to stop the baby from crying,” she said in earlier testimony. She didn’t know about “shaken-baby syndrome,” though she had been abused by her own mother as a child, Anderson said.

Anderson said she was afraid to take her daughter to the hospital prior to Dec. 6 because she was worried that her daughter would be taken from her if it was discovered that she injured her baby.

Anderson’s husband returned the baby to his family in the United States after his daughter’s hospitalization and his wife’s arrest, the judge said. A shaken-baby syndrome specialist currently is treating the child, but recovery is uncertain, Chubachi said.

“She could completely recover or continue to be affected, we still don’t know,” Chubachi said. “If you had only followed your instincts as a mother, the whole incident would have been avoided.”

Chubachi suspended Anderson’s sentence — 2½-years imprisonment plus forced labor — and placed her on four years of probation. However, as a matter of Commander, Naval Forces Japan policy, all status of forces agreement-sponsored personnel are sent home immediately after a conviction in a Japanese court.

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Hana Kusumoto is a reporter/translator who has been covering local authorities in Japan since 2002. She was born in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Australia and Illinois growing up. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and previously worked for the Christian Science Monitor’s Tokyo bureau.

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