Man pleads guilty to felony abuse of toddler

Published 9:00 pm Sunday, November 12, 2017

An Austin man charged with a felony after reportedly abusing a 19-month-old boy in June pleaded guilty Thursday in Freeborn County District Court.

Damian Haugen

Damian Wade Haugen, 23, pleaded guilty to felony malicious punishment of a child under 4 years old.

Court documents state Haugen was charged after an Albert Lea Police Department detective was dispatched June 19 to a residence in Albert Lea on a report that a 19-month-old boy who was known to Haugen had come to day care with red marks on the right and left side of his face. The marks were thought to come from a hand that possibly grabbed the toddler’s face.

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Court documents state a woman who was known to the victim and Haugen found two kitchen utensils, a spatula and a pasta spatula, after she got home. She thought it was strange because two other children thought to have been home at the time wouldn’t be able to reach the utensils.

A doctor later in the day reportedly believed the marks on the right side of the boy’s face were from a slap, and the scrape on the left side of his face appeared to come from striking the face with something else after the slap.

Sentencing is scheduled Feb. 8. Haugen is expected to be placed on probation, according to the Freeborn County Attorney’s Office.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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