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


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.

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