- A Rhinelander man is accused of beating, suffocating and choking a nine-month-old baby who was in his care earlier this month.
Today, the mother of that baby spoke out.
Melinda Lafferty says she had known 23-year-old Christopher Schimke for about three months before he allegedly abused her son while babysitting.
He had cared for her two boys before, and her four-year-old son had never said anything that led her to think this could happen.
Christopher Schimke,23, had been babysitting for her about two months, and she had known him for a month before that.
“I’m angry. I’m angry because he did this,” Lafferty said. “ I’m angry because I trusted him, I’m upset because I thought he was my friend. And you never think someone could do this, especially to a little helpless baby. Somebody that can’t defend themselves, can’t tell you to stop. That’s what I think about the most - the feeling that my baby had.”
Still, it took her some time to believe Owen was hurt by more than just an accident.
“I guess I just didn’t want to believe I would choose someone like that to watch my kids,” she said.
Lafferty met Schimke through a mutual friend, whom she’s known since sixth grade.
Schimke has a criminal history, including lewd exposure and supplying alcohol to minors.
Lafferty says he told her about that when they first met.
“He was honest then, I try not to sit here and judge people on what happened, because people – well, you’d think people learn from their mistakes,” she said. “I guess I’m too trusting. My mom always said that’s one of my best qualities, but one of my worst, because it gets me in trouble.”
Schimke is due back in Oneida county circuit court at 1:15 p.m. Friday afternoon for an adjourned initial appearance.
Written By: Lex Gray