Sunday, November 28, 2021
Nov. 28, 2021

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Vancouver man gets 13 months in injury to baby

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

A Vancouver man was sentenced Wednesday to 13 months in prison after his 3-month-old son was hospitalized with abusive head trauma in 2018.

Ervin Paul Ferma, 38, pleaded guilty in Clark County Superior Court to third-degree assault of a child, domestic violence-related, and second-degree criminal mistreatment.

Ferma’s attorney, Jon McMullen, told the judge the child has since recovered from the injuries.

According to a probable cause affidavit, the boy was brought to Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center on Aug. 6, 2018, with seizures, vomiting and general weakness.

The child was transferred to Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland, where doctors found he had brain bleeds and retinal hemorrhages, both indicators of nonaccidental trauma, according to court records.

Hospital staff said the child likely suffered extensive brain damage, and neither Ferma nor his wife could explain how the child injured his head, the affidavit says.

Ferma told investigators that when he played with the baby, he would sometimes toss the boy over his head, and when he landed in his hands, the boy’s neck would swing forward and backward in a swift motion, court records state.

The doctors said that action couldn’t cause the child’s injuries.

When investigators told Ferma the play he described couldn’t have caused the baby’s injuries, he said there was also an incident about two weeks earlier when the boy fell from his stroller and landed face-first on the patio.

Ferma said the baby was unconscious and had a small red mark on his forehead. He said he sat the baby back down and that his wife was inside at the time. She asked what the noise was, he said, but he did not tell her the boy fell or that he was hurt, according to the affidavit.

Ferma said the boy was still and quiet for about 1½ to two hours before he drank some formula and then vomited. He said he didn’t seek medical care or render any first aid after the fall, court records state.

On Wednesday, McMullen told the judge “there was some neglect, nothing willful.”

“I’m sorry for failing my son and my wife. I’ll be sorry every day. I hope to see them in the future when I get out,” Ferma said through tears.

However, Judge Gregory Gonzales said it’s obvious something more happened. He ordered a one-year no-contact order between Ferma and the child, from the time Ferma is released, and said he is not to see the child while in custody.

“You have a lot of ground to make up,” the judge said.