Two men sent to prison in separate cases involving attacks on children

  • Article by: KEVIN GILES , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 23, 2012 - 8:53 PM

Baby critically hurt in one case, children raped in the other.

A man accused in a vicious assault of a baby boy in Forest Lake that caused 37 bone fractures was sentenced Friday to more than six years in prison.

Mark James Nelson, 32, of South St. Paul, pleaded guilty in January to first-degree assault on the 6-month-old child.

In August, while dating the baby's mother, he became angry and squeezed the boy's torso until he heard cracking. Doctors at Hennepin County Medical Center later determined that 22 of the baby's 24 ribs were broken. They also found bruising to his liver and lungs, and damage to his eyes.

"The injuries this poor child suffered were absolutely horrendous," said County Attorney Pete Orput. "No one, much less an infant, should have had to undergo such suffering. We are pleased to be able to bring some justice to this child and his family. We are also extremely pleased to be able to report that the child is recovering and doing well."

Judge John Hoffman sentenced Nelson in Washington County District Court.

24 years for raping children

In another major sentencing Friday that involved a northern Washington County case, a 63-year-old Hugo man received 24 years in prison for raping two children between 2006 and 2010.

The first-degree criminal sexual conduct sentences for Phillip Kenneth Wick, 144 months for each offense, will be served consecutively, Judge Ellen Maas said.

"The length of this sentence should send a message loud and clear that sexual predators can and will be dealt with harshly," Orput said. "Our hope is that this defendant's victims will have the ability to heal now that this ordeal is over for them."

Wick pleaded guilty to the charges in January.

Assistant Washington County Attorney Karin McCarthy prosecuted both cases.

Kevin Giles • 651-925-5037 Twitter: @stribgiles

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