John Paul Fiedorek, 34, Charlevoix, was sentenced to serve 18 to 36 years in prison this morning in the 33rd Circuit Court.
Fiedorek had been convicted of one count of child abuse, first degree and two counts of child abuse, second degree, on March 8, 2022 following a two-week jury trial.
The 18 to 36 year sentence was on the child abuse, first degree charge. Fiedorek was sentenced to serve 43 to 86 months in prison on both child abuse, second degree charges, with all of the sentences to be served concurrently.
Before pronouncing the sentence, Judge Roy C. Hayes III heard from the defendant and his attorney, Michael J. Corcoran. Fiedorek continued to maintain his innocence and his attorney indicated they intend to appeal the conviction.
The court also heard from both of the child victim’s parents as well as his maternal grandmother who acted as the child’s guardian early on after the assault upon the child.
Charlevoix County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mary Farrell, who prosecuted the case, asked the court to depart from the sentencing guidelines which called for a minimum sentence of 135 to 225 months in prison, stating that the guidelines did not take into account the extent of the injuries upon the child, the true actions of the defendant and the trauma imposed on the child and his family.
Hayes said that the defendant had brutally, physically assaulted a 15-month old child left in his care. The court noted that the child suffered broken bones, bite marks, unusual bruises and abrasions all over his body.
The judge also found by a preponderance of evidence that, in addition to these incidents, that the defendant had a prior history of abuse, including children, that had never been prosecuted.
Hayes said that he was focusing on punishment, deterrence and primarily the protection of society and there was little chance of rehabilitation. The judge said that it was incomprehensible how an adult human living in a civil society could cause these injuries.
At trial, the jury heard testimony from doctors who treated the child who was taken to the Charlevoix Area Hospital in September of 2019 with multiple injuries including numerous fractures to his arms and bite marks to his body.
The child was transferred to Devos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids where he was further treated for his injuries and where doctors discovered rib fractures as well.
The child’s mother testified that the child had been in Fiedorek’s care the day before he was taken to the hospital. Numerous witnesses testified to seeing the child in the days before he was in Fiedorek’s care and not seeing any of the injuries.
The jury heard from two prosecution dental experts who compared photographs of the injuries with dental impressions of Fiedorek and the other people who had been in contact with the victim in the days prior to his hospitalization. Both prosecution experts testified that while they could exclude all of the other impressions from causing the bite mark, they could not exclude the defendant.
One of the experts specifically stated that the defendant had a broken tooth which makes a unique bitemark and this mark was present in the photographs of the bite injury on the child.
The defense called its own dental expert and an expert forensic photographer who attacked the quality of the photograph of the bitemark.
Jurors also heard testimony related to two prior incidents where Fiedorek physically struck children who were not his biological children leaving welts.