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Superior man faces felony child abuse charge

A Superior man accused of biting his 3-month-old son made an initial appearance in Douglas County Circuit Court on Wednesday.

Byron Robert Benson, 24, faces one count felony physical abuse of a child. He remained in custody at the Douglas County Jail in lieu of $750 cash bail. Court Commissioner Rebecca Lovejoy ordered Benson to have no contact with the 3-month-old, any residence the child is at or unsupervised contact with children younger than age 10.

Benson, who had been living in Superior, gave the court a new address in Kelsey, Minn. Assistant District Attorney Ruth Kressel asked for $1,500 cash bail, but Benson’s attorney, Rick Gondik, objected.

“An allegation is just that, an allegation,” Gondik said. He asked for a lower bail amount in order to allow his client, a member of the Minnesota National Guard, to serve at his monthly drill this weekend.

According to the criminal complaint:

Benson was home with his son while the boy’s mother was at work. When the boy woke from his nap around 6 p.m., Benson picked him up, and was going to change his diaper.

Benson told Superior Police Detective Mike Jaszczak the TV was loud at the time and something — either the TV or the boy’s crying — caused him to black out for about five minutes. When Benson woke up, his son was crying and had several bite marks on him. The Superior man said he picked the boy up, kissed the bite marks and told him he was sorry. Benson was crying so hard he passed out and he woke up at about 8:30 p.m. to pick up the boy’s mother. Benson told Jaszczak he has never blacked out before, not even when he had been drinking.

The 3-month-old had bite marks on both legs, his cheeks, nose and shoulder, 11 in all. The injuries were limited to bruising, according to Superior Police Chief Charles LaGesse, and the boy was released to his mother’s care.

This is the second criminal complaint filed against Benson this spring in Douglas County. He also faces misdemeanor battery and intimidation charges from a domestic abuse incident in April involving the 3-month-old’s mother. According to that criminal complaint, Benson told Superior Police Officer Eric Olson he suffers from PTSD and has seen some horrible things. He also said that when he is attacked, his body goes into an automatic reaction to protect himself.

Benson’s next court appearance is set for May 21.