After a jury trial that stretched over two weeks and deliberations over two days, a Charlevoix County jury convicted John Paul Fiedorek, 34, Charlevoix, of one count of first degree child abuse and two counts of second degree child abuse today in the 33rd Circuit Court.
The jury heard testimony from doctors who treated a 15-month-old 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.
“We thank the jury for their consideration and for their verdict,” Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney Allen Telgenhof said. “Mary Farrell from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office did an excellent job presenting this complex and difficult case. The Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office, and particularly Detective Cody Wheat, as well as the City of Charlevoix Police Department and the Michigan State Police were exceptional in investigating this matter.”
“This case was very difficult because the victim could not tell us what happened. We were only able to achieve justice in this case through the hard work of Mary and the investigators and the witnesses who told what they knew and the jurors who gave their time and attention.”
Fiedorek will be sentenced on April 22. Child abuse in the first degree carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Child abuse second degree carries a maximum of 10 years.