Joseph Jurek, who admitted in May to shaking his three-month-old son to the point of unconsciousness last year, learned his sentence in Erie County Court Thursday afternoon. He was told by Judge Kenneth Case that even after he's out of prison, he will not be allowed to make contact with that child or his wife until the year 2030.
Jurek's attorney urged the judge to hand down a lesser sentence, citing mental health issues. Jurek himself read a statement apologizing for the incident and hoped that upon completing his sentence he would be able to get back to supporting his family.
Following the sentencing, Erie County Districy Attorney John Flynn said both the sentence and the order of protection were appropriate.
"It doesn't give me any pleasure but, unfortunately, the fact of this case deserve that," Flynn said. "He deserves the four years that he got in jail. He deserves the two years of post-release supervision and he deserves the order of protection until 2030."
What Flynn finds upsetting is that Jurek, who was arrested in January and pleaded guilty to two counts of reckless assault of a child in May, did not immediately seek medical attention for his infant child. That didn't happen until his wife returned home from work the night of the incident.
"He obviously couldn't control his emotions. He obviously got frustrated with the child. A neighbor heard the commotion and went to the apartment to find out what was going on, saw the baby was unconscious and the father told the neighbor that the baby's fine, he's just sleeping," Flynn said.
Investigators previously said as the child was treated by doctors, it was determined the victim had suffered a previous injury. Jurek had also been arrested last October for a marijuana possession charge. He was sentenced to one year in prison for that count. That, and the two four-year sentences for assaulting his baby, will run concurrently.
Jurek openly wept when the judge announced the order of protection.
It was stated in court that the child is recovering but Flynn suggested that time will tell whether the young victim escaped any long-term adverse effects.
"The baby has to have an MRI every month, just to ensure that it's developing," he said. "The baby's improving, thank God, but as of this point we do not knwo if the baby's going to have any cognitive disabilities or not. It's just too early to tell."