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Child Abuse Suspect Appears In Court



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Minnesota Vikings Running Back Adrian Peterson's 2-year-old son has died at a Sioux Falls hospital. Authorities say the child's mother's boyfriend assaulted the boy. That man appeared in court for the first time Friday.

Twenty-seven year-old Joseph Patterson was arrested Thursday night after being interviewed by police. He was arraigned in a Lincoln County courtroom before we learned of the child's death.

In handcuffs, with his head down, Patterson was escorted into court, where he was read the charges against him: aggravated battery on an infant and aggravated assault.

Lincoln County States Attorney Tom Wollman said, "The charges could run consecutive to one another which could be a 40 year sentence and or $80,000 in fines."

Just two days prior, Wednesday night, police say they were called to Patterson's apartment on the 6200 block of S. Connie Avenue in Sioux Falls on a report that a child was choking. They say the child, who IS Patterson's girlfriend's son, was found unresponsive and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.

Officer Sam Clemens said, "The medical examiners found, he had some injuries that were not consistent with being accidental. They were consistent for being abuse. Those injuries were to the head."

According to court documents, Patterson intentionally or recklessly caused serious bodily injury to an infant causing intra-cranial or intra-ocular bleeding, or swelling of or damage to the brain. Documents say the injuries were caused by blows, shaking or causing the infants head to impact with an object or surface. Police say Patterson was the only person with the child at the time the incident occurred.

Clemens said, "I don't think it was that long of a time frame. We're not talking hours or anything like that."

Police would not confirm that Adrian Peterson is the father of the child, but they say no matter who it is,
they will treat this investigation like any other.

Wollman said, "We ask that you keep the family in your prayers as we work through this investigation."

Patterson did ask for a court appointed attorney Friday morning. The judge assigned the Lincoln County Public Defender Cynthia Berreau to his case. Patterson is being held on a $750,000 cash only bond.

Now that the child has died, the Lincoln County State's Attorney's Office will be reviewing police reports, and will consider additional charges.

Patterson has a lengthy criminal record. Most recently, he was charged with beating another young boy and the mother of his own son last year. He was also charged with having contact with the two, despite orders to stay away from them. In court Friday, Wollman asked a judge to revoke the terms of Patterson's suspended sentence on those two domestic abuse cases.
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