Skip to main content

Rochester man pleads not guilty to dangling daughter over railing and injuring her

  • Author:
  • Updated:

A Rochester man accused of injuring his daughter while dangling her over a stair railing as punishment for hiding cereal pleaded not guilty to two felony charges.

James Edward Riley, 38, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges that include one count of malicious punishment of a child-prior listed offense and one count of domestic assault, the Rochester Post Bulletin reports.

According to the criminal complaint:

The Olmsted County Sheriff's Office was called to investigate the report of a 7-year-old girl who had arrived at school on Feb. 27, 2014, with a golf ball-sized lump on her head and had a headache.

The victim told investigators that her father, identified as Riley, picked her up, hung her by her feet and lifted her over the railing, and while she was hanging upside down she hit her head on the railing. She told investigators that she was screaming and was frightened.

The victim's 5-year-old brother and 9-year-old sister told investigators that their parents were mad at the victim because she had hid cereal. Before Riley picked her up, he told her "I'm sick of you lying" and then he hung her over the railing by her feet.

The victim's siblings and mother told Riley not to drop the girl and asked him to stop.

When asked by investigators, Riley and the mother denied the incident happened and Riley acknowledged there'd never be a reason to do such a thing "unless you were Michael Jackson, I guess."

Riley has a criminal history that includes previous domestic assault charges. The Post Bulletin says Riley pleaded guilty in Wabasha County to felony domestic assault back in June – sentencing for the case is scheduled for Sept. 30.

If Riley is convicted, both felony charges hold a maximum sentence of five years in prison or $10,000, or both.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-08-06 at 6.16.49 PM

Fire sparks evacuation from apartment building, man arrested for arson

Police and fire crews responded to the fire just before 9 a.m. Saturday.

Flickr - utility pole power line

Morning storms cause power outages, ensuing problems in Eagan

There have been reports of disabled traffic lights and issues at local businesses.

kim crockett facebook sos

GOP nominee questions if those with disabilities, non-English speakers should be able to vote

Crockett made the comments in a 2020 radio interview following a ruling from the Minnesota Supreme Court.


Jury: MN pharmacist did not violate woman's rights by refusing her morning-after pill

Gender Justice, the advocacy group that brought about the lawsuit, says it will appeal the decision.

Screen Shot 2021-10-04 at 3.03.13 PM

Revival to close its original Minneapolis restaurant

Don't worry – it's bringing the chicken to its nearby BBQ joint.


Fatal crash under investigation on Hwy 62 in Mendota Heights

The Minnesota State Patrol is investigating the crash near Dodd Road.

Pixabay bike wheel

Driver strikes 5 bicyclists near Mapleton

The Sheriff's Office has indicated that those injured were children.

Screen Shot 2020-04-30 at 3.13.52 PM

The former Bachelor Farmer space is sold in Minneapolis

A new restaurant is expected to open next year.

flooding on Interstate 90

Supercharged atmosphere causing more mega-rain events

There could be a mega-rain event Saturday-Sunday in Minnesota, Wisconsin and/or Iowa.