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A Friedberg, Germany-based soldier was convicted last week of assaulting his 4-month-old son.

In a trial that centered on head injuries suffered by the child, a six-member jury found Staff Sgt. Rodney Taylor guilty of two counts of assault consummated by battery relating to two separate incidents in January 2003, said Capt. Christine Duey, lead prosecutor in the case.

Taylor had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The prosecution charged Taylor struck his wife, and then assaulted his son a few days later when he shook the infant in an effort to quiet him.

During the sentencing phase, Taylor acknowledged he became upset when his son continued to make a fuss, despite being fed and changed, Duey said.

“He admitted he shook his baby for five seconds,” Duey said.

Taylor, assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, was sentenced to 179 days in jail, a reduction in grade from staff sergeant to private first class and an administrative reprimand.

The maximum jail penalty Taylor could have received was 24 months, Duey said. She noted the case against Taylor would have been stronger had his wife and another witness chosen to testify during the two-day trial in Wiesbaden.

Prosecutors focused on the damage Taylor did to his son’s brain when he shook the child, injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome.

The boy, now 17 months old, suffered injuries to the left side of his brain lobe, causing nerve damage, swelling and atrophy. Duey said a doctor from Bethesda Naval Medical Center in Maryland testified the boy has serious head injuries.

According to Duey, a video of the boy shot after the assault was played in court to illustrate his condition. Injuries to one side of the head typically affect the opposite side of the body.

“You can tell his right side is not the same as the left side,” Duey said.

The Bethesda doctor indicated it would be hard to know how much cognitive damage the child sustained until he reaches elementary school age.

Efforts to reach Taylor’s defense attorneys Friday and Monday were unsuccessful.


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