Baby sitter accused of shaking two girls in one day

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A Bentleyville man accused of shaking a 2-year-old girl he was baby-sitting in Fayette County earlier this year faces additional charges that he assaulted an infant in his care just hours before.


Southwestern Regional police Monday filed new charges against Joshua Tannous, 19, of 106 Piersol Ave., based on investigators’ claims a 6-month-old girl suffered shaking injuries in an incident Feb. 4.


Police said the assaults occurred hours apart while Tannous was watching the girls at 20 Johnston St. in Belle Vernon. Police filed charges of aggravated assault, child endangerment, simple assault and reckless endangerment at District Judge Richard Kasunic’s office Monday.


Police wrote in court documents supporting the charges Tannous assaulted the younger girl while her parents, Matthew and Tracy Price, slept in a nearby room. Tannous claimed the girl was not breathing and unresponsive, and he tried to revive her, although her parents said she appeared to be fine when they went to sleep hours earlier.


The girl was taken for treatment at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, where doctors found she had a broken left leg attributable to a shaking incident, police said.


It was while the parents took the younger girl to the hospital that police said Tannous was left to baby-sit the 2-year-old girl. Police said the parents returned home from the hospital and found the toddler screaming in her bedroom with bruises on her face and a cut on her lip. Investigators said Tannous was intoxicated and high on marijuana at the time.


The 2-year-old girl was later taken to Children’s Hospital, where doctors discovered she had multiple broken bones they attributed to shaking. Police said Tannous told investigators he “became very mad” and “lost control” when the girl continued screaming and crying, and he “put her down on the bed hard” before he fell asleep for nine hours.


Doctors alerted police to the 2-year-old’s injuries, and police charged Tannous on Feb. 6 with aggravated assault, child endangerment, simple assault and reckless endangerment in that case.


“Through the course of (the investigation), we determined that the older child was abused while the younger child was at the hospital,” Southwest Regional police Chief John Hartman said.


The parents told police Tannous had moved into their home in early January. Police said Tannous watched the two girls about a dozen times during that period and he often smelled like marijuana when Matthew Price returned home. Price told investigators Tannous usually fell asleep while watching the children and failed to change their diapers, which often caused rashes.


Southwest Regional police charged Matthew Price, 21, and Tracy Price, 23, with child endangerment and reckless endangerment because they did not bring the older child to the hospital for medical treatment for nearly 24 hours.


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