Dad 19, sentenced to 11 years for assaulting infant son

OLYMPIA - A judge sentenced an Olympia man to 11 years and eight months in prison on Thursday for throwing his infant son on the ground in July because he would not stop crying, according to court papers.

Shane Dean Olsen, 19, had pleaded guilty to first-degree assault of a child, second-degree assault of a child and one count of first-degree criminal mistreatment.

According to court papers:

Olsen’s 2-month-old son was taken to Capital Medical Center in July because he was having trouble breathing. The child was transferred by helicopter to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma with life-threatening injuries.

The boy’s injuries occurred while Olsen was watching him at the home of his girlfriend’s sister, where the family had been staying. The child’s mother said she was at work for less than five hours on the morning of July 6, and when she returned, she discovered that the boy was having trouble breathing.

Doctors at Mary Bridge told investigators that the baby suffered large skull fractures on the left side of his head, multiple rib fractures, a lacerated liver and a broken neck. The baby underwent two blood transfusions and was on a respirator.

A doctor told investigators that part of the boy’s brain was dead and he would never “interact with his environment.”

The boy, who was born in May, also had partially healed fractures to his ribs and leg, which is a possible indicator of earlier abuse, doctors told investigators.

A doctor told investigators that the boy’s injuries showed that he was slammed against something and punched in the head at least twice.

According to the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Olsen gave several explanations of the boy’s injuries when he was interviewed in July, at first saying that they were caused by accidental falls and bumps. According to court papers, his most recent explanation before his arrest was that he became frustrated and threw his son to the floor and then to the couch from four or five feet away because the boy would not stop crying.

According to Olsen’s felony judgment and sentence signed by Thurston County Superior Court Judge Paula Casey, Olsen may not have contact with his son for the rest of his life, and may not have contact with any minors without approval from the state Department of Corrections. Olsen also must undergo anger management.

Doctors have told prosecutors that it is uncertain whether Olsen’s son will ever be able to breathe on his own, court papers state.

However, he can see and hear, which doctors didn’t expect after he was injured, according to deputy prosecutor Carol LaVerne. The baby is still developmentally disabled, and it is too early to tell how his recovery will proceed because he is so young, she added.

“He’s certainly doing better than the doctors predicted,” she said.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465