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Hayden couple pleads guilty to child abuse charges

Nicholas T. Branson, 26, of Hayden, pleaded guilty to injury to a child and forcible sexual penetration by foreign object. His sentence is scheduled for August.

HAYDEN, Idaho — Warning: This story contains descriptions of abuse against an infant and may be disturbing to some. 

A man and woman accused of grievously harming an infant have pleaded guilty to the abuse.

Nicholas T. Branson, 26, of Hayden, pleaded guilty this week to injury to a child and forcible sexual penetration by foreign object, both felonies, as reported by our news partners, the Coeur d'Alene Press.

Credit: CDA Press
Nicholas Branson (left) and Hailey Harris.

He must undergo a psychosexual evaluation prior to sentencing, which is scheduled for August.

Branson remains in jail on $250,000 bail.

In late March, 26-year-old Hayden resident Hailey N. Harris pleaded guilty to felony injury to a child for what police said was her role in the abuse.

Her sentencing is scheduled for next week. She is being held on $100,000 bail.

The pair were arrested in January after a month-long investigation by the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office, prompted by a report of a 7-week-old infant with “traumatic” injuries.

The child reportedly sustained at least 14 fractures, as well as internal damage and genital trauma.

When interviewed by police, Harris reportedly admitted to causing some of the child’s injuries, while Branson told police he injured and sexually abused the child.

The child’s current condition is unknown.

Felony injury to a child is punishable by up to 10 years behind bars, while forcible sexual penetration carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

The Coeur d'Alene Press is a KREM 2 news partner. For more from our partners, click here.

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