Father pleads guilty to injuring infant son

A Medford man admitted he injured his infant son and pleaded guilty today in Jackson County Circuit Court to second-degree assault and criminal mistreatment.

Dion Ryan Meadows, 34, who has no prior criminal record, kept his eyes downcast and said little as he was sentenced to 90 days in jail and five years' probation by Judge Ray White in accordance with a plea agreement hammered out between prosecutors and Meadows' defense attorney.

Meadows was home alone with his three children on June 7, 2008. He had lost his job and had stopped taking medication for a mental illness and was stressed and sleep-deprived when he shook the crying baby, striking its head on the carpeted floor, said Beth Heckert, chief deputy district attorney.

"He was suicidal in the recent past," said Heckert. "But he was by all counts a fine father before this."

Meadows felt immediate remorse for his actions and tried to help the 3 1/2-month-old boy. After applying ice to the lump on the baby's skull, he called 9-1-1, saying he had fallen with the child, said Heckert.

The infant was rushed to Rogue Valley Medical Center for treatment of a skull fracture. He was released after a brief stay and has suffered no lasting damage from the incident, Heckert said.

But paramedics, concerned about the living conditions they saw and the injury, called police. An officer interviewed the fire crew and Meadows, then took Meadows into custody.

Originally charged with three additional counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment in connection with the incident, Meadows has been in jail since his June arrest and will get credit for time served. He is prohibited by the court from seeing his children until the Department of Human Services deems he may have visitation, said White.

The child's mother, Christine Vivian Kenmoen, was charged with three counts of criminal mistreatment because of the home's condition. In October 2008, she pleaded guilty to two of the three counts before Circuit Court Judge Patricia Crain. The third count was dismissed. Kenmoen received 22 months' probation and 16 hours of community service.

— Sanne Specht

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