Father accused of causing injuries that left infant on life support

Shaun Sicsico posed with his daughter for a photo dated June 30 he posted on his Facebook page. — Photo courtesy of Facebook

Updated 3:30 pm, Wednesday, July 31

Shaun Sicsico, a 19-year-old father, sat in the Dukes County jail Wednesday, held on $50,000 bail following his arraignment in Edgartown District Court Monday morning on a charge of assault and battery on a child and causing substantial injuries that left his 12-week-old daughter, born prematurely, on life support in a Boston Hospital.

Jaelynn Elizabeth Metell was born on May 2, at Massachusetts General Hospital. She weighed 2 pounds, 8 ounces at birth, according to her birth announcement. On Monday, doctors gave her little hope of survival.

In court Monday, Cape and Islands assistant district attorney Laura Marshard recited the statement of facts that formed the basis of the criminal complaint against Mr. Sicsico and his arrest Sunday by Oak Bluffs and State Police.

On Saturday night, the child’s parents, Andrea Metell of Oak Bluffs and Mr. Sicsico, brought her to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. She was later transferred by MedFlight to Boston Children’s Hospital.

The attending physicians, as well as Dr. Alice Newton, medical director of the Child Protection Team at Boston Children’s Hospital, came to the conclusion that the child’s injuries were consistent with abuse, according to a copy of the statement of facts obtained by The Times.

The baby had “bruising on all limbs, as well as bruising of eyelids, and a torn frenulum [a connecting fold of membrane serving to support or restrain a part (as the tongue)].”

The doctors concluded that the injuries most likely occurred sometime Saturday. The hospital contacted the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and told the social welfare agency that Jaelynn had been brought to the hospital with severe brain injuries. DCF social workers took emergency custody of the child and called the Oak Bluffs Police Department.

On Sunday morning, Oak Bluffs detective Nicholas Curelli and State Police Sergeant Jeff Stone interviewed the parents. Mr. Sicsico told the police officers that “he spun the victim and may have spun her too hard,” according to the statement of facts.

Police arrested Mr. Sicsico that morning. “Further charges may follow upon worsening of victim’s condition,” Detective Curelli said in his report, “which as of July 28, 2013, at 18:35 hrs, is grim, according to medical staff at Children’s Hospital.”

In court Monday, Ms. Marshard asked District Court Judge Thomas Barrett for bail of $75,000. Judge Barrett set bail at $50,000 and continued the case to tomorrow, Thursday, August 1, when Mr. Sicsico will appear with his lawyer or ask the court to appoint a lawyer. Mr. Sicsico was ordered to have no contact with the victim.

In a telephone conversation Monday, Cape and Island’s District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said Mr. Sicsico moved to Martha’s Vineyard from Connecticut but has been living on the Island for several years.

Mr. O’Keefe said the child was born prematurely and had only been home for three to four weeks. She is presently at Children’s Hospital “on life support,” he said.

The charge of aggravated assault of a child carries a penalty of up to 16 years in state prison, Mr. O’Keefe said.

In a telephone conversation Wednesday, a spokesman for Boston Children’s Hospital said she could not comment on Jaelynns condition.

In a statement emailed to The Times, DCF director of public affairs Cayenne Isaksen did comment.

“The Department of Children and Families is deeply saddened by this tragic incident and is actively investigating the matter,” Ms. Isaksen said. “The Department has been providing support and service referrals to the family since the end of May, and the child is currently in the care of DCF.”

Asked about the next step in this process, Ms. Isaksen said, “The department is currently conducting an investigation in response to the report we received regarding this incident. During the investigation process, interviews will be held with the family, friends of family, or whomever DCF staff or the family requests to be interviewed, as well as professionals that the child may see on a regular basis.”

According to court records, in the past two years Mr. Sicsico was arrested for receiving a stolen credit card, improper use of credit card under $250, and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license.