Thomas L. Hickle, 30 of Crab Orchard, was arrested Wednesday and charged with assault after his girlfriend’s 5-month old baby was injured while in his care.

According to the Berea Police Department, Hickle was caring for Kaitlyn Hawley while the baby’s mother, Amanda Hawley, was shopping.

The injuries occurred around 7 p.m. Tuesday when Hickle picked the baby up off the floor and placed her in a swing, according to Lt. Ken Clark.

“If you have children, you know that you put your hand on the back of their head to support it when you pick them up. He was not a trained caregiver and didn’t know what he was doing. When he picked the child up, he picked it up in such a way that it caused injuries to the baby,” Clark said.

The baby suffered a right frontal bruise to the brain and retinal bleeding and was taken to St. Joseph’s Berea Hospital, then transported to the University of Kentucky Medical Center, where she was listed Friday in serious condition.

Social services workers at the Lexington hospital contacted Social Services in Richmond because the incident occurred in Madison County. They in turn, contacted the Berea Police Department on Wednesday.

Anytime an incident involves a defenseless person, such as a baby or an elderly person, an investigation must be conducted, Clark said.

The joint investigation conducted by Detective Danny Brewer and a Social Services worker revealed there was probable cause to arrest Hickle and charge him with assault, Clark said.

“There was probable cause, because, yes there were injuries and yes this person was responsible for the injuries, but you are innocent until proven guilty, so it is up to the courts to decide if it was intentional or not,” Clark said.

“We are going to leave it up to the court and a grand jury to decide whether to indict him or not,” Clark said.

Hickle is lodged in the Madison County Detention Center under a $50,000 cash bond.

Bob Flynn can be reached at bflynn@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.

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