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No jail time for woman who bit baby in Lebanon

Special to the Union Leader

August 17. 2014 8:42PM

HAVERHILL — A 25-year-old White River Junction, Vt., woman accused of biting a 12-day-old baby in the head and/or face in Lebanon has pleaded guilty in Grafton County Superior Court to second-degree assault.

Judge Peter H. Bornstein sentenced Sarah Haines to 1½ to four years in the New Hampshire State Prison, all suspended for four years, and placed her on four years’ probation during which time she may have no unsupervised contact with minors.

Lebanon Police Deputy Chief Phil Roberts said earlier this year that the biting occurred Jan. 20 while Haines and the baby were at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. The child suffered lacerations to the face and head, he said. Police established no motive for Haines’ actions, Roberts said.

“We never really got a strong answer. It could be drugs or it could be mental health,” he said. Haines also pleaded guilty this month at the same hearing before Bornstein to a charge of violating the controlled drug act. She received a one-year concurrent sentence, also suspended.

Roberts said that Haines possessed buprenorphine, which is often used to treat opiate addiction. On the assault count, Bornstein also ordered that Haines undergo a psychological evaluation and an extensive drug and alcohol evaluation, that she attend parenting classes, follow all recommended treatment, and that the results be reported to her probation officer.

Regarding the condition and custody of the child, who is identified in court records only by initials, Roberts said the Vermont Department for Children and Families was involved in the case. State officials refused to say what relationship Haines had to the infant.

Haines was represented by attorney Tony Hutchins of the New Hampshire Public Defender’s Office in Orford. Deputy Grafton County Attorney Jack Bell was the prosecutor.

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