David Stroup Jr. mugshot

David Stroup Jr., 38, of Federalsburg pleaded guilty Dec. 29 to second-degree child abuse. He was sentenced to four years in prison and five years of supervised probation.

DENTON – Just more than a year after his 6-week-old daughter was transported to an intensive care unit in Baltimore with significant head injuries, a Federalsburg man pleaded guilty Dec. 29 to second-degree child abuse.

David Wayne Stroup Jr., 37, was sentenced in Caroline County Circuit Court to four years active incarceration with five years of supervised probation, on the condition that during his probationary period, he maintain contact and cooperate with the county’s Department of Social Services.

While the plea deal proposed by state and defense attorneys asked for three years active incarceration, Judge Paul M. Bowman upped the sentencing to four.

The 349 days Stroup spent in prison before Wednesday’s plea — his case was delayed following the investigation and subsequent death of Circuit Court Judge Jonathan Newell — are included in the sentence.

Stroup, a carpenter and Navy veteran convicted in New York on similar assault charges in 2010, was arrested in January 2021 on 10 charges, including first-degree assault and first-degree child abuse. According to court documents, Stroup was facing 135 years in prison and over $20,000 in potential fines.

Caroline County State’s Attorney Joseph Riley said in an email that “the active period of incarceration is in the recommended guidelines range established by the Maryland State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy.”

Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Kristina Sutley prosecuted the case.

Relinquishing his right to a jury trial, which had been originally scheduled in October 2021 and moved to April 2022, Stroup’s sentencing Dec. 29 ended a yearlong criminal justice sequence.

On Dec. 23, 2020, a deputy from the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 3400 block of American Corner Road in Preston about 10:42 p.m. Upon arrival, the deputy found Stroup performing CPR on his daughter, who was in cardiac arrest. The deputy took over resuscitation efforts for Stroup, who had called 911.

According to district court documents, Stroup was feeding the infant while the mother was taking a shower. Carrying the child in his arms, Stroup walked into the bathroom and stated their daughter wasn’t waking up. The mother then asked him to call for help.

Once EMS personnel arrived, they transported the daughter to Easton Memorial Hospital, where emergency room physicians suspected the child “had sustained trauma which appeared to have been caused by child abuse,” according to court documents.

Preliminary medical findings at Easton Memorial suggested the infant’s brain was bleeding, and she was transported via medevac to the John Hopkins Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in Baltimore City.

Dr. Mitchell Goldstein, a board-certified child abuse pediatrician at Hopkins, told detectives from the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division that in addition to the infant’s new injuries, she was recovering from another head trauma.

Goldstein then told detectives that both sets of injuries were “highly consistent with inflicted head trauma and conducive with child abuse,” according to Detective Amber Hafer.

According to a Sept. 23 circuit court document, the state believed Stroup had physically abused his daughter between the period of Nov. 24, 2020, and Dec. 23, 2020.

Stroup’s daughter was born on Nov. 10, 2020.

Defense attorney James Thomas Worm of Hollis, Cronan & Fronk, P.A., said the baby has made a full recovery.

The Preston case was the second time Stroup was convicted of harming an infant, and the third time an injury to one of his children was investigated by government officials.

In 2010, Stroup, who Worm said has a history of anxiety and PTSD, pleaded guilty to a second-degree attempted assault charge in Western New York. Also an infant at the time, Stroup’s third child was diagnosed with an upper arm and shoulder fracture in 2009. The father told the Niagra County Sheriff’s Office he may have unknowingly caused the injuries.

Four years earlier, the Virginia Department of Social Services also investigated whether Stroup’s first child, born on Feb. 12, 2006, was physically abused in May 2006. According to the Sept. 23 document, the investigation found evidence of level II physical abuse, indicating moderate harm to the child, though Stroup’s involvement was not clear and no charges were filed against him.

Before he was ushered out of the courtroom Wednesday, Stroup quickly glanced at the child’s mother.

“This is one of those cases where the victim didn’t have a voice,” said Lt. Donald Baker of the Caroline County’s Sheriff’s Office and head of its Criminal Investigations Division.

Baker said it was because of the combined efforts of law enforcement, emergency, and medical personnel that Stroup’s case “was brought to resolution.”

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