Confer Sentenced to 15 years for Assault of Infant Son
LOCK HAVEN – Aaron Confer, 23, of Lock Haven, was sentenced Thursday for his assault on his 3-month-old son in February of 2021. Clinton County Court of Common Pleas Judge Michael F. Salisbury imposed sentences on one count of Aggravated Assault (F2) and one count of Endangering Welfare of a Child (F2), in front of a courtroom filled with several dozen attendees who showed their support for the injured baby boy as well as a handful of supporters of the Defendant. Salisbury imposed an aggregate maximum sentence of 15 years in a State Correctional Facility, with initial parole eligibility after 26 months. Pursuant to Pennsylvania sentencing laws, the Court was prohibited from imposing a minimum sentence longer than two and a half years.
The approximately 40-minute-long proceeding began with Clinton County District Attorney Dave Strouse telling the Court that all of the statements and comments made by Confer showed that he refused to take full responsibility for his assault on his defenseless baby. Strouse said Confer claimed he was “reckless”, said he “maybe went to far” and always minimized his actions. Strouse said the truth was that the photographs of the head-to-toe injuries suffered by the baby told a far different story. He said Confer would have killed the baby if he wasn’t interrupted by the baby’s mother.
Strouse also expressed disbelief that after he was arrested, Confer apparently began a new romantic relationship a short time later and impregnated his new paramour while his criminal case was pending. Strouse repeatedly referenced photographs of the infant that showed injuries to all parts of his body. He called the injuries “horrific,” and added, that Confer “should be locked up for as long as possible, and he should never, ever, be around another child for the rest of his life.”
On behalf of Confer, Attorney Kyle Rude did not attempt to minimize his client’s actions. Rude said that Confer had no explanation, and no excuse for what happened that day. He said Confer had since sought counseling, and was trying to manage his anger. Rude said his client expressed remorse for his actions from the very beginning of the case, and referenced a letter that Confer had written to his son apologizing that he hoped he would be able to read when he got older.
Confer also addressed the Court. He apologized to the victim, and explained that he had no explanation for what happened that day. He told Judge Salisbury that whatever punishment he decides on, Confer would accept it and that he hopes to be better.
After hearing from both the Commonwealth and Defense, Judge Salisbury told the Courtroom that he had received 7 letters of support for the Defendant. He commented that not one of the letters mentioned the terrible injuries that were suffered by this little defenseless baby. Salisbury told the group of people seated behind Confer that he would like them to view the photographs of the baby’s injuries, but decorum prohibits him from showing them. Salisbury said words could not do justice to the injuries, and he would find it hard to believe that anyone would be able to speak so highly of Confer if they actually would see what he had done. He said DA Strouse’s use of the word “horrific” is the only one suitable to describe the injuries.
Salisbury talked about the trauma that the victim had to endure, and the trauma endured by the baby’s mother. The baby was unable to be held for an extended period of time due to a fractured clavicle caused by the Defendant, so his mother wasn’t able to hold him. Salisbury directed to Confer, “Your behavior goes against every natural paternal instinct, and I cannot believe that you went out and fathered another child after doing these things.” Adding, “I hope that the mother of the next child is here in this Courtroom listening.”