Proctor admits to facts in baby injury case; children remain in county care


By Gary Abernathy - gabernathy@civitasmedia.com



The parents of the infant who was hospitalized and placed into a medically-induced coma after she was allegedly shaken by her father appeared in court Wednesday and admitted to certain facts in the case, leading to the baby and her 8-year-old brother remaining in the care of Children Services.

But the admissions cannot be used against the father in his criminal case on felony charges.

Martin Proctor, 27, Hillsboro, the baby’s father, along with the baby’s mother admitted to a number of facts presented in Highland County Juvenile Court, including a series of events on March 12 during which Proctor “could not get (the baby) to stop crying, he shook her and she went limp… then (she) began crying so hard she turned purple and began to seize.”

A document from Wednesday morning’s hearing in front of judge Kevin Greer states that long-term injuries to the baby are unknown.

Proctor is the father of both the baby and her 8-year-old brother. The baby’s mother is a Hillsboro resident, while the mother of the older child lives in Kentucky and was not present for Wednesday’s hearing.

The court document states that “Hillsboro City Schools report that Martin Proctor was granted custody” of the boy in July 2015.

The document states that after the incident that sent the baby to the hospital, the older child was left in the care of an individual as part of a safety plan agreed to by Proctor, but on March 14 Proctor left a voicemail with the individual stating that she needed to bring the boy to him or “it would not be good.”

The baby was released from the hospital in late March. Proctor was indicted this month by the Highland County Grand Jury on charges of felonious assault and child endangerment The admissions made by Proctor on Wednesday cannot be used against him in the felony case, Greer said.

Proctor was represented by attorney Lee Koogler, with attorney Kristi Wilkin representing the mother. Attorney Kathryn Hapner is serving as legal guardian for the children. Assistant county prosecutor Jim Roeder represented Children Services in court Wednesday.

Koogler was removed by Highland County Common Pleas Judge Rocky Coss from serving as Proctor’s attorney in the felony case due to a possible conflict of interest since the case is being investigated by the Hillsboro Police Department and Koogler is president of Hillsboro City Council. Attorney J.D. Wagoner has been appointed to represent Proctor in the criminal case.

“I don’t see that as a conflict in this court,” Greer said Wednesday, and Koogler will continue to represent Proctor in front of Greer.

The judge said the next step in the case is to determine where to place the children on a more permanent basis. He said there are grandparents and other relatives with an interest in taking the children, and a decision would be made no later than June 9.

Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins previously told The Times-Gazette that hospital officials in Cincinnati found evidence of a “healing hairline fracture to the left tibia” of the baby. Collins said the finding “may indicate prior abuse.” Collins said the infant is receiving regular medical follow-up care.

Proctor was arrested March 15 by the Hillsboro Police Department and charged with felonious assault in regard to the injuries to the baby, which occurred when she was just a month old. He is being held on $50,000 bond at the Highland County Justice Center.

The case first came to light that same date when the local Children Services agency filed a request with Greer for emergency protective custody of the baby and her brother after the infant was taken to Highland District Hospital on March 12, then transferred by life squad to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, where she was sedated into a coma due to seizures.

Greer granted the custody order, calling the circumstances of the baby’s injuries “horrific” as Proctor and the baby’s mother sat in the courtroom during the hearing. Proctor was arrested and charged a few hours later by the Hillsboro Police Department.

According to court documents, approximately two weeks prior to the incident involving the baby, the older child was seen to have what appeared to be a black eye, and the father told people he had punched the child, according to the filing. Law enforcement “has an ongoing criminal investigation involving this family,” according to the document.

Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or by email at gabernathy@civitasmedia.com.

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By Gary Abernathy

gabernathy@civitasmedia.com