ST PAUL — His 8-week-old son had a “(expletive) bad attitude,” and was always “acting like a baby.” He often put his hand near his face during feedings, or urinated during diaper changes, according to charges against his father.
Those were some of the reasons Jeremy Dean Berg told investigators he hurt his infant son, according to criminal charges filed Thursday in Ramsey County District Court.
The 38-year-old St. Paul man was questioned after the child was hospitalized earlier this month for life-threatening injuries, including a skull fracture, a brain-bleed, broken ribs, bleeding and bruising of his genitalia, a swollen-shut left eye, a lacerated spleen and cuts on his forehead and behind his ear, the criminal complaint said.
Doctors told investigators the infant, who was born two weeks premature on Aug. 20, had a “50/50” percent chance of surviving, authorities say.
Berg initially denied causing the injuries, at first blaming them on the infant’s 2-year-old sibling, the complaint said. But he later admitted to the abuse.
He would hit his son in the genitals when he urinated on him during diaper changes, he told investigators, and would squeeze his hand or deny him food when the infant covered his mouth during feeds, charges say. When the baby would cry for too long, he said he covered his mouth and nose.
He also admitted to driving around in his truck with the child on his lap, and said the infant had recently fallen out when he was exiting the vehicle, dropping four or five feet and hitting his head on the pavement, the complaint said.
Berg thought his son was dead, and picked him up and shook him “violently,” charges say. Then he took him inside a gas station restroom and pressed down repeatedly on the child’s chest, the complaint said.
Berg never called 911 or asked anyone for help at the time.
He apologized during the interview with authorities, and wrote a letter to the child’s mother, with whom he has two other children.
The couple does not live in the same house.
“I never meant to hurt (the child) … I hope he is ok and doesn’t get any bad effects from this,” Berg wrote, according to the charges.
Berg was scheduled to make his next court appearance in the case later Thursday, Oct. 17.
He is charged with two counts of malicious punishment of a child resulting in great bodily harm.
His attorney, public defender Michael Carsten, could not be reached for comment.