Friday, August 25, 2000

Paramedic accused of abuse

Hamilton man charged with shaking infant son

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A Hamilton paramedic and firefighter is accused of shaking his infant son so violently he damaged the baby's brain.

        Jon Cook, who has worked for the Hamilton Fire Department for five years, faces two counts of felony child endangering. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 16 years in prison.

        Jon Aaron Cook, born Jan. 15, suffered brain damage and two broken ribs in February, Butler County Prosecutor Dan Gattermeyer said.

        “The injuries were very severe to the baby,” he said. “These kinds of cases are very important to us.”

        The brain injury was discovered when the baby was brought to Children's Hospital Medical Center recently for a broken finger, Mr. Gattermeyer said.

        Mr. Cook was indicted on Aug. 16. He is free after posting $25,000 bond.

        Mr. Cook, 27, of Hamilton, is still an active member of the Hamilton Fire Department, Fire Chief Lyle Moore said.

        But he said he has changed Mr. Cook's schedule to reduce his chances of having contact with children.

        Chief Moore also said Mr. Cook will not be permitted to make emergency medical runs with the life squad.

        “He could still respond to emergency medical calls, but only with the firetruck, not the life squad,” he said. “He would be under the supervision of an officer at all times.”

        He said Mr. Cook has an excellent record with the department and has no disciplinary blemishes. Mr. Gattermeyer said he has no criminal record.

        Mr. Cook could not be reached for comment.

        Mr. Gattermeyer said no one can predict the long-term impact of the brain injury to the Cook baby, who is in the custody of another family member.

        “As with all kids who have suffered shaken-baby syndrome, you can't tell how it's going to affect him in the long run,” Mr. Gattermeyer said.

        “We're keeping our fingers crossed because he seems to be doing well.”


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