Avis man pleads guilty to assaults on children

LOCK HAVEN — A 23-year-old Avis man faces sentencing following a series of alleged assaults on two 17-month-old brothers.

Rick D. Anstead was accused of punching the children and more while they were in his care.

On Monday, he entered guilty pleas in four cases  relating to alleged child abuse occurring in August of 2016 and the months preceding.

Anstead  entered guilty pleas to three counts of aggravated assault of a child under the age of 13, all graded as felonies of the first degree; one count of aggravated assault of a child graded as a felony of the second degree; one count of endangering the welfare of a child, a felony of the third degree; and one count of simple assault of a child, a misdemeanor of the first degree.

The pleas were entered before Clinton County Judge Michael Salisbury, who ordered a pre-sentence investigation to be conducted and slated sentencing for Feb. 13 at 8:30 a.m.

Anstead faces a maximum prison term of up to 75 years.

At the time of his pleas, his attorney, Public Defender  David  Lindsay, indicated he would be seeking a psychological evaluation of the defendant for the court to consider at the time of sentencing.

During the investigation by the Lock Haven Police Department, officers said the injuries were serious enough to require one infant’s treatment at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, but both twins are now back at home with their mother.

The other twin was also injured during the episodes, which occurred on Aug. 12, police said. However, his injuries were not as severe and he did not require hospitalization, police said.

Anstead told police that, over the time he was supervising the twins, he punched them in the head numerous times and pushed them to the ground, causing them to hit their heads, according to a criminal affidavit.

Anstead said he hit the children because of the crying and because he was frustrated by often having to take care of the children, police allege.

On April 25, one twin was treated at Lock Haven Hospital after Anstead told police he struck the baby in the chest with the palm of his hand because the boy was choking.

And on May 23, police said Anstead punched the same twin in the side of the head, causing him to have a seizure.

Anstead was arrested Aug. 18.