Family defends Auburn teen accused of physically injuring 11-month-old relative

WORCESTER — The young Auburn man accused of injuring his 11-month-old relative has multiple special needs and was cleared by the Department of Children and Families to be reunited with his family after a stay at a residential treatment facility, relatives said today.

Christian M. McFadden, 18, is to be arraigned today in Worcester District Court on a charge of assault and battery on a child causing injury. The charge was filed by Auburn police after authorities learned that the baby had two skull fractures, two compression back fractures, and hemorrhaging in both eyes.

But McFadden’s mother, Peggie McFadden, as well as an an uncle and a cousin, all defended the teenager today, saying he was never alone with the baby last week, when authorities allege the injuries were suffered by the child, and that he is not a person prone to violence.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Christian McFadden, they said, has schizoaffective disorder, mild mental retardation, post-traumatic stress disorder, and attention deficit disorder, and has been in DCF care since he was 10 years old, an involvement that began because he was a frequent runaway.

Peggie McFadden said her son had spent seven years in and out of foster homes, group homes, and a residential treatment facility, and returned home about year ago. She said her son now knows how to control his anger and would not have hurt the infant either intentionally or unintentionally.

“Christian is not like that,’’ she said. “If he has a fit, he’ll go in his room and punch a wall and scream into a pillow.’’

Patrick Mongeau, a cousin, said Christian McFadden was a teenager with a child’s mind.

“He is a big kid,’’ Mongeau said. “He still plays Power Rangers with his 13-year-old brother.’’

According to Peggie McFadden, she was granted custody of the infant girl last summer because the child’s mother could not care for the infant. The family said the child’s mother, who is Peggie McFadden’s niece, has mental health and substance abuse problems.

The family refers to Christian McFadden and the baby as cousins. Technically, it appeared that the baby’s mother would be his first cousin, and her child would be his first cousin once removed.

The infant has been thriving, relatives said, adding that Christian McFadden was never alone with the infant in the Hill Street home, where immediate relatives are frequent visitors in the household of seven — McFadden, his mother, his grandmother, the infant, two brothers, and a second cousin.

Relatives said the series of events that led to McFadden’s arrest began last week when DCF first received a report that the family’s home was dirty. That prompted the agency to come and remove all three underage children from the home.

According to the family, after those children were removed, DCF received an anonymous call l from a person who reported seeing McFadden swinging the infant by her ankles. DCF responded by having all three children examined by doctors.

According to Auburn Police Chief Andrew J. Sluckis Jr., a CAT scan and X-ray showed that the infant had been injured both recently and further in the past. Doctors found that, in addition to her current injuries, she had two partially healed fractures in one arm, the chief told the Globe.

McFadden, who was held on $5,000 bail following his arrest, will be examined by a court mental health expert today prior to his arraignment, officials said.