Joshua Velazquez

Joshua M. Velazquez, 36, of East Petersburg, was charged with two felonies after police say he injured his infant child the morning of April 5, 2022.

An East Petersburg father charged with assaulting his baby claims the infant was injured when he accidentally swaddled the child too aggressively, according to Northern Lancaster County Regional police.

Police charged 36-year-old Joshua M. Velazquez last week with aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of children – both felony offenses – after the infant was taken to Lancaster General Hospital the morning of April 5 with an upper arm fracture, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Medical staff at the hospital called the infant’s injuries “highly suspicious” and notified a Lancaster County Children & Youth Agency caseworker, who in turn called police around 3:30 p.m. The child, whose age and gender were not stated in the affidavit, was later transferred to Hershey Medical Center.

Velazquez told investigators he believes the injury may have happened when he “pulled too tight” while swaddling the infant at his residence in the 2700 block of Madison Court around 3:45 a.m. that day, causing the baby’s arm to be twisted, police said. Velazquez noted that the child’s mother has previously joked about him being an “aggressive swaddler.”

But a doctor who specializes in child abuse pediatrics said the infant’s “oblique and twisting injury” was not consistent with “normal care,” adding that Velazquez’s handling of the baby was at the very least “reckless and careless,” according to the affidavit. The specialist’s final report concluded that the infant’s fractured and bruised arm was caused by physical abuse.

The child’s mother told police she was awoken several times throughout the morning by the child “scream crying” after Velazquez had left for work. The mother then discovered the infant was not using their right arm and that it was “flopping around” after the child continued to cry at random times over a period of a half-hour, taking the baby to the hospital shortly afterward.

In a brief exchange of text messages that morning between Velazquez and the child’s mother, Velazquez said he was “freaking out” and swore never to swaddle the baby again, police said.

Velazquez told investigators he “felt nothing but guilt” for the incident, according to the affidavit.

Michael Marinaro, a private attorney listed for Velazquez in court documents, did not respond to a request for comment.

Velazquez was arrested Thursday and freed on $150,000 unsecured bail set by Judge Brian Chudzik during a preliminary arraignment that afternoon, court records show. He will next face a preliminary hearing before Chudzik on May 24.

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